Delhi schools stay shut for all classes till Oct 5 due to Covid crisis
Schools across the country have been shut since March-end in the wake of the coronavirus disease pandemic. Classes are being conducted online and links to online study materials are being sent to students via WhatsApp, emails and SMS.Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 01:23 IST
The Delhi government on Friday said all schools in the national capital will remain closed till October 5 for all students. The order, which came in the backdrop of a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases, ended speculation over whether students of classes 9-12, as per the central government’s guidelines, will be allowed to visit schools to take guidance from teachers on a voluntary basis from September 21.
“It is informed that all schools will remain closed for all students till October 5. However, online classes and teaching-learning activities will continue as usual and Head of Schools (HoS) are authorised to call teachers/ staff (as per requirement) for smooth conduct of online classes, teaching-learning activities and any other work,” the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) said in its order.
Schools across the country have been shut since March-end in the wake of the coronavirus disease pandemic. Classes are being conducted online and links to online study materials are being sent to students via WhatsApp, emails and SMS.
A senior education department official, who did not want to be named, said the decision was taken after assessing the Covid-19 situation. “The department has also received feedback from parents of both government and private schools, and a majority of them do not want their children to return to schools right now. We have also reviewed the situation and concluded that it is not suitable for the students to visit schools in Delhi for at least the next few weeks,” the official said.
On Friday, Delhi reported 4,127 new cases and 30 deaths, taking the total infections to 238,828 and fatalities to 4,907. Authorities have ramped up testing as a measure to combat the current spike in infections.
Before the resurgence of cases, the seven-day average of daily cases in the Capital peaked at 3,446 on June 26 before falling to 983 on August 4. In the last seven days, Delhi has seen an average of 4,154 new cases every day.
Parents welcomed the Delhi government order on schools. “My daughter and her friends had already decided that they will not be visiting school after September 21. We conducted an online survey to take parents’ opinion on partial reopening of schools, and 97% of the 1,000 parents who participated in the survey said that they did not want to send their children to schools amid the pandemic,” Sumit Vohra, the father of a Class 10 student at DPS Vasant Kunj, said.
Jyoti Arora, the principal of Mount Abu Public School, said around 65% parents of enrolled students were not in favour of sending their children to the institute at this point. “However, it has become a challenge for schools to teach practical-based subjects online. If schools were allowed to partially reopen, they could have conducted practical for students, especially those in board classes, in small groups while taking all precautions,” she said.
AK Jha, the head of school at a government-run sarvodaya co-educational institute in Rohini, said: “Although students want to rejoin the school, but their parents are not in favour of sending them. It is better if the schools continue to remain closed for the next few weeks.”
The central government, in its guidelines for Unlock 4 issued on August 30, said though schools, colleges and other education institutions will remain closed till the end of September, there will be some relaxations for senior students.
Students of classes 9-12 may be permitted to visit their schools — only outside containment zones — on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers, according to the guidelines.For doing so, students will have to give written consent of their parents/guardians. The guidelines said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the same will be issued by the ministry of health and family welfare.
The guidelines also said states and Union Territories may permit up to 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching/tele-counselling and related work from September 21.