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Schools to open classes, labs with masks, sanitisers; private schools to reopen later

New Delhi: From masks, sanitisers, and physical distancing markers to thermal scanners and sensor taps, schools in the national capital have taken several measures to ensure that the return of class 10 and 12 students to the campus after 10 months is smooth and safe
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 11:06 PM IST

New Delhi: From masks, sanitisers, and physical distancing markers to thermal scanners and sensor taps, schools in the national capital have taken several measures to ensure that the return of class 10 and 12 students to the campus after 10 months is smooth and safe. Schools in the national capital had been closed since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While most government schools in the capital are reopening for board students on Monday, several private schools said they would reopen later once the online pre-board exams are over and parental consent for return of students has been acquired.

Madhulika Sen, education advisor at Tagore International School, said, “The notice was issued with only five days in hand. Our online pre-board exams are currently underway and will only be completed by next week. So we will use this time to implement all protocols, speak to parents for their consent before reopening in February. The syllabus has already been covered and we will have time for revision and practicals. Students are likely to be called three days a week initially with no more than 15 students per room which is one-third of the original capacity of our classrooms.”

Last week, the Delhi government allowed all public and private schools in the national capital to call students of classes 10 and 12 back to the campus from January 18 for pre-board preparations and practical work. The schools have been asked only to call students with the consent of the parents and follow all the Covid-19 precautions.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday held a review meeting with officials from the education department on the matter. “Everyone is excited and a little nervous at having Class 10 and 12 students back in schools from tomorrow for practical/counselling. All preparations – sanitizers, masks, and social distancing measures – are in place,” he tweeted.

Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School which has over 300 students appearing for class 10 and 12 boards this year, said, “We will reopen sometime later this week as are waiting for parental consent slips to form the batches. Thermal scanners and oximeters are present in the school along with sanitisers and emergency masks for those students who need it. Sanitising machines have also been installed on every floor. Class hours have been reduced from six hours to two hours and initially, we will only be calling 50 students to school from both classes to ensure parents and students both feel comfortable. Only 10 students will be allowed per laboratory with at least three staff members to ensure supervision.”

Teachers and principals in the national capital have been concerned about practical classes and offline doubt-clearing sessions for students since the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced dates for class 10 and 12 board exams last month. Board practical exams will begin from March 1 and written exams will be conducted between May 3 and June 10.

BP Dhyani, principal of a Delhi government school in Trilokpuri, said they are all set to reopen Monday with masks, sanitisers, and physical distancing markers in place. “Through existing WhatsApp groups, we had asked children to bring a signed copy of consent form to school on Monday. We have also made arrangements to keep printed copies of the form ready in case any parent wants to sign it tomorrow after coming to school. The students who could not arrange school uniforms this year will be allowed to come in their home clothes. The idea is to facilitate their learning for upcoming board exams. With teachers deployed for Covid-19 duty, that too might be a challenge,” he said.

Schools will also hold orientation programmes and put up posters and notices detailing the Covid-19 guidelines. “We will hold orientation sessions reminding students of little things like opening doors using elbows, keeping their masks on at all times and carrying pocket sanitisers. Parents have also been asked to pick and drop their children as per the specified schedule. Teachers have also designed and put up posters on Covid-19 safety guidelines as well. We have installed web-cams in our classrooms to ensure that classes can be live-streamed for those who choose not to attend offline classes,” said Alka Kapur, principal of Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, which has over 400 students appearing for their class 10 and 12 boards this year.

Geeta Gangwani, principal of Bal Bharati School in Rohini, which will reopen later this month once their pre-board examinations are over, said they will have daily orientation for students. “We have also prepared a presentation for parents which focuses on how children should behave before entering school, while being in school, and after they leave school. Exhaustive training of support staff will also be undertaken in the coming week,” she said.

The school has installed sanitisers, fogging machines, thermal scanners, and disinfectants which will be sprayed in-between batches. “The students will be here only for three hours and we will have to disinfect the area before the other batch comes in. We have also installed taps that can be operated by feet in washrooms. Physical distancing markers have been put up between classrooms and washrooms. Teachers will ensure that children are not gathering anywhere, including washrooms and will be checking the queues in the corridors before excusing the child,” she said.

Richa Sharma, principal of The Sanskriti School, which is reopening Tuesday, said they will have seven students per laboratory, which has a capacity of 30 students. The school also sent consent forms to parents of those students who were being called to school as per their roster. “Each batch will have a teacher and attendant to ensure that physical distancing is followed at all times. A task force has also been formed which is supervising entry-exit protocols, cleaning, managing consent forms among other things.”

Trisha Kakkar, a class 12 student at The Indian School, said, “My parents have allowed me to return to school and I am really excited about it. Along with practical lessons, we will be able to see our teachers and interact with them one last time as this is our last year of school. Though we won’t be able to do much because of Covid-19 protocols, returning to school will have a positive impact on us and will only motivate us to study harder.”

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