Staggered sessions as Delhi schools reopen for classes 10,12
A week after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) allowed schools in the Capital to restart physical classes for students of classes 10 and 12, most public and private schools will begin in-person classes in a staggered manner for these students from this week -- for the first time since April when offline classes were suspended following the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Delhi.
The education department had earlier directed schools to obtain written consent from the parents of all students who are willing to visit the school, even as it allowed continuation of online classes for those who opt out of physical classes.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini and a member of an action committee of over 400 private schools in the capital, said that only 40% of the parents have agreed to send their children to school.
“We think that once classes begin, gradually attendance will pick up like it did earlier this year. We have decided to go for a blended mode of learning with our online classes continuing till noon in the first half. Our practicals will continue from 12.30pm to 2.30pm with each student coming to school only twice or thrice a week. At any given point, there won’t be more than 12-13 students in each lab,” she said.
On August 9, the Directorate of Education issued guidelines to all schools, following DDMA directives allowing students of classes 10 to 12 to return to school for admissions and board exam-related activities.
While a few schools, including Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh and ITL Public School in Dwarka, reopened last week, most private schools, like Springdales School in Pusa Road, Army Public School in Shankar Vihar, Birla Vidya Niketan, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Delhi Public School in Mathura Road and Ahlcon International School in Mayur Vihar are expected to reopen this week.
With the Capital’s Covid-19 caseload at a nearly 16-month low, schools and parents had been asking the government if schools will reopen for senior students soon. Schools in Delhi have been closed since March last year and briefly opened in January and February this year only for classes 9 to 12. Offline classes were suspended in April due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Many stakeholders had been calling for reopening schools mainly because of the two-term board examination, introduced by CBSE to prepare for an “unprecedented situation” arising due to the pandemic, next year. The first set of board examinations for classes 10 and 12, based on a bifurcated syllabus and in the MCQ format, is set to take place between November and December this year.
Suman Aswal, who teaches Biology at The Indian School in Sheikh Sarai, said, “We will focus on practicals as other guidance can be given online as well... We will also discuss what kind of multiple choice questions students can expect.”
Most government schools in the Capital will start classes on Monday and principals have been asked to ensure vaccination of staff on a priority basis.
Sukhbir Singh Yadav, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Rohini Phase 3 and president of Vice and Principals’ Association of Delhi, said his school started practicals for Class 12 on Thursday and will begin the same for Class 10 students from Monday. “We will be addressing their queries related to theory and practical exams for a maximum of three hours per day. The paper pattern has also changed this year so we need to train our students accordingly. Students slated to appear for their compartment exams between August and September can also visit schools for guidance,” he said.
Some schools will also focus on counselling students to ease their transition to offline classes.
Rakesh Semalty, principal of a government school in West Jyoti Nagar, said, “Counselling sessions will be of one hour and in small batches of 15-20 students. All subject teachers have one session with each batch in which they will personally interact with students and resolve their issues related to online classes, time management, syllabus splits, examination methods of board, practical classes, record keeping, personal well-being and moving forward with caution, concept and confidence. Practicals and projects will begin next week.”