Schools to remain shut in Delhi till July 31, online classes and remote learning will continue
The Delhi government has been holding consultations with principals of private and public schools along with teachers and parents on how to resume operations in schools after the summer vacation ends on June 30. Classes usually begin on July 1 after summer break.Updated: Jun 27, 2020 10:28 IST
All schools in the national capital, both public and private, will remain closed till July 31, the Delhi government said on Friday, while announcing that online classes for students will continue.
Schools in Delhi have been shut since March 19 in the wake of the coronavirus disease outbreak, though they have switched to online learning by conducting classes via video conferencing and sharing study materials on WhatsApp groups.
On Friday, education department officials presented before Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister and education minister, district-wise reports prepared based on the suggestions of school authorities, students and parents. The decision to extend the closure of schools was announced after the meeting.
The Delhi government has been holding consultations with principals of private and public schools along with teachers and parents on how to resume operations in schools after the summer vacation ends on June 30. Classes usually begin on July 1 after summer break.
Friday’s meeting was aimed at designing an action plan for schools so as to ensure that they are well-prepared whenever they reopen, according to government officials.
After the meeting, a statement by the government said suggestions were given by teachers, parents and students in order to provide “learning opportunities and emotional support to children using remote methods and support of parents till the schools reopen”.
“Continuing with the online classes wherever possible, carrying proper sanitization work in classrooms, distributing masks to students, thermal screening of every student at the school entrance gate, and reduction of the syllabus were some of the major suggestions given at the meeting,” the statement said, referring to the reopening plans.
The recommendations to the government also said primary classes should be held once or twice a week with just 12-15 students in a class. While students from classes 3 to 5 could attend school on alternate days, those between classes 6 and 8 may be present once or twice a week, according to the suggestions. For students in 9th and 10th standards, classes should be taken in very small groups once or twice a week along with online classes, it was discussed.
“It was suggested during the meeting that class 11 and 12 should be conducted on alternate days and online classes should be carried (out) on remaining days. There was also a suggestion of reducing their syllabus. Some also suggested that only 3 to 4 hours of classes should be carried per day,” the government statement said.
According to officials from the directorate of education, Sisodia said in the meeting: “In light of all the suggestions, we should make a plan to reopen schools in a way that would teach students to live with the coronavirus and prepare them for a new role in new circumstances.”
Sarita Batra, principal of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in Shalimar Bagh, said, “We will continue with the online classes. We have tied up with Microsoft Teams for a safer online learning experience and have created student IDs on it. There have been workshops with teachers on learning pedagogies...Since teachers were already coming to schools to manage the hunger relief centres, it gave us an opportunity to meet and engage in micro-planning.”
Government schools have been acting as hunger relief centres since the lockdown began, providing meals to needy. Teachers come to these centres to help with the managerial work.
SK Bhattacharya, the president of an action committee for unaided recognised private schools, said: “As far as private schools are concerned, we will be opening schools as per the Delhi government guidelines. Most of us have resumed or will be resuming online classes from July 1 to ensure learning continuity among children.”
In the three-phase unlock plan of the central government, reopening educational institutes including schools and colleges is in the second phase.
While detailing the outlines of the plan in May-end, the Centre said a decision on this was likely in July.
In the first phase, places of worship, dine-in restaurants and shopping malls have reopened earlier this month in several parts of India, where a hard lockdown was imposed on March 25.