Your Space: Allow reopening of offline classes in schools in phased manner
The state health officials have reported a drop in Covid cases during the Ganeshotsav festival as compared to the previous week, and less cases reported than the corresponding festive period last year. As the authorities’ strict norms like online darshan by mandals and no immersion at riversides saw a welcome change, readers share views on resumption of offline classes by educational institutes and reopening of other service sectors...
Rural children are missing online classes
The Supreme Court has stayed the school reopening decision. It has refused to give directions to the central and state governments to enable students to attend physical classes. Many social scientists are urging to reopen in-person schools as benefits outweigh the risk especially as poor rural children are missing out on online education. According to a survey, only 8% of rural students are studying online regularly. Economist and social scientist Jean Dreze was part of a report which said schools are essential service and it was said that they should be the last to close and the first to reopen. Many doctors of various medical associations are saying that it is safe to resume offline classes after taking all precautions. Unlocking of offline classes may be delayed till Diwali and it is understandable. But post Diwali, all offline classes should reopen. The state of Kerala has already made it clear that it will reopen all schools on November 1. Closed schools are a “looming disaster” and we must not allow it to last longer.
Reopen schools under strict safety measures
Though schools and colleges have reopened in many other states, the situation in Maharashtra is sensitive. Looking at the current scenario, it has been more than a year that students are taking online learning. However, the issue is that the sudden transformation of the education sector from offline to online has affected delivery of quality education. It was very hard for teachers and students to suddenly change their teaching techniques from offline to online. In today’s context as everything is allowed to reopen, the government should think about taking decisions to open higher secondary school and colleges. However, at the same time steps such as vaccination of age group 12-18 should be started as early as possible. Vaccination of teachers should be ensured. We should not wait for the decision till the cases are zero. Steps should be taken to ensure that the benefits of offline classes that young students have missed should be not be extended for a longer period. We all know that the Covid pandemic is not over yet. Even if the government takes decision to reopen schools - real time monitoring of Covid cases is must so that spread of the virus should be curbed. With strict measures let’s reopen schools to spread the knowledge and let us all take care to check the spread of the virus.
Reopen businesses to save jobs
As we can see that a lot of students are suffering in rural and urban areas due to continuous online classes, reopening of schools will be a good decision. Students are now facing the issue of online fatigue which is affecting their learning. In such a scenario, when we can see that Covid cases have not seen a spike after Ganpati festival, school should start offline. Along with this, other service sector businesses should also resume offline functions as it will help those who are struggling with their jobs. It is equally important that no one forgets that the danger of Covid is not over. Taking all precautions is important to address the third wave. Many of us have lost loved ones in the second wave, and so hand sanitisation, social distancing and most importantly wearing masks should become the new normal.
Allow offline classes in phase mode
I think that schools and other service sector industries should be reopened, but strictly in phases. As the festival season is not yet over, there are chances that Covid cases may see a rise after Dussehra or Diwali. As many people step outside for festivities and in the festival fervour forget that the virus is still present. But meanwhile, the schools and other places should be reopened in a phased manner. Moreover, vaccination of students from 12 to 18 years should be started soon if offline classes are to be continued. If the children are vaccinated, they will be safer. Most teaching staff at government and private schools are vaccinated. If children are inoculated, they can be free of any added tensions. Offline classes are important as teachers and students can interact much better than online learning. And so I think, with all precautions being taken, if the Covid cases remain low, offline mode should be given a go-ahead.
Reopen schools after Diwali
If anyone has suffered the most during the past 18 months, it is students. Online education suddenly was very challenging for students as well as teachers. However, they have time and again coped with the indoor schedule. But now that the Covid cases have dropped, students should get an opportunity to go offline to classes. Also, teachers have been working their best to provide and reach out to as many students as possible. But due to online education, many students are not receiving proper education. The lack of one-to-one interaction has affected weaker students the most. So, it is of utmost importance that students are presented with a possibility of offline school. Many parents can be seen struggling with kids who are not screen dependent for everything. This not only affects the cognitive growth of the child but can lead to obesity among children. Many kids now prefer staying indoors for their evening play with no physical exercises. If the education continues online, it will affect these students the most. However, schools should reopen after Diwali as Covid cases may drop further and it will be safer for the children.