170 schools in Gadchiroli, 20 in Chandrapur finally reopen for senior secondary studentsUpdated: Jul 10, 2020 00:33 IST
More than three months after schools in the state closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, they have slowly begun reopening from this week. From July 6, nearly 190 schools from Chandrapur and Gadchiroli districts reopened physically.
“Nearly 20 schools in Chandrapur and 170 in Gadchiroli have physically reopened. As per the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the state education department, schools can reopen in places where there is not a single case of Covid-19 for the last one month,” said an official from the education department. With most parts of the two districts having poor internet access and issues with connectivity, the reopening of schools means that students can finally learn after a long gap.
Karamveer Vidyalaya in Warora taluka of Chandrapur, which reopened for Classes 9 and 10, the first day of school was marked with thermal screening of teachers and students and ensuring that children follow social distancing norms.
“We first held a meeting of the school management committee and took all parents into confidence. After taking all the necessary precautions, we finally started classes for the higher standards as allowed by the SOPs,” said Balu Bhoyar, principal. The school has 54 students in Class 9 and 10.
In several parts of Chandrapur, teachers have also started an initiative called Shikshan Aaplya Dari (Education at your doorstep) through which they travel to small villages and hamlets to teach students in the neighbourhood. “Many of our teachers are part of the initiative, and we are happy that students’ learning is not going to stop,” said Bhoyar.
For schools in Gadchiroli, a phased reopening was planned, said Ashwini Sonavane, block education officer, Bhamragad, which is a remote taluka in the district, with a large tribal population.
“For students here, no school for such a long time meant a threat of dropouts, and we did not wish to take that risk. Instead of waiting to reopen at once, we worked out a plan for phased reopening. At the moment, we have started small study groups with four students and a teacher, which can assemble in the village for two hours a day,” Sonavane added. With the state’s publishing bureau Balbharti ensuring that students received copies of their textbooks soon after the new academic year began on June 15, the teaching efforts of schools in remote areas could kick-off, she said.
As per the SOPs, schools can first start Classes 9, 10, and 12 in July, followed by Classes 6 to 8 from August, and Classes 1-5 from September. The final decision of starting schools, even in such areas, would rest with the local administration.