School opening: Sigh of relief, but focus on SOPs



Schools and colleges have reopened after almost 20 months and parents and teachers have heaved a sigh of relief. 

However, after such a long gap and losing touch with teaching-learning process, some technical glitches still persist even as the focus is now on SOPs like social distancing, checking temperature at the entry point, masks, staggered break, ‘no play’ time,  sanitizing classrooms as well as enforcing other Covid-related protocols. 

The State government recently gave a free hand to educational institutions to decide the mode of teaching -- online, offline or hybrid -- depending upon the infrastructure available.

Although most have welcomed the reopening of schools, parents were still skeptical on the SOPs that needed to be followed.

Ashwini Pai Dukle, a parent from Margao feels the fear of Covid still persists as children are not yet vaccinated. “Physical classes are a must for all kids. I feel even the lower classes should resume with physical classes but with proper protocols,” she said. 

“In the last few months, children have lost track of the normal routine which is also affecting their health. Secondly, physical interaction with the teachers and peers is a must for better understanding of the subject,” believes Dukle.

“We had actually started Std X offline classes before Chaturthi break. Almost 100 percent students are attending the classes every day. Music, theatre, sports classes are also conducted,” stated Anant Agni, headmaster, KBM’s Ravindra Kelekar Dynanmandir. 

Datti Kunde, a retired teacher from Damodar Vidyalaya English High School, Margao feels that a sigh of relief should be the reaction to the decision for physical classes.

“Though the word social distancing is highlighted in all relationships, a teacher student relationship cannot grow under this taboo. However qualified a teacher may be, a student can gain confidence, or understand difficult concepts by real life examples. Spot on clarifications which can be done only in a normal classroom,” feels Kunde.

Director of physical education and sports at Kare Law College, Margao Manoj Hede was happy to know that is son’s Std XII exams were offline. “But after two papers, they announced, that the remaining papers may be online”, he says. 

Expressing concern Hede opines, “Since the government has opened casinos, cinema halls and other public places, schools and colleges should operate on 50 % strength, calling students on alternate days.”

Sachin Bhandare, secretary, Popular High School Trust says, “we are following all the guidelines, however there is a monetary burden. We have kept a peon and a helper at the entry point to check the temperature of students. We have requested parents to drop and pick up their wards instead of using public transport. We sanitise and spray each class daily at the end of the day”.

While some parents are not happy with the online mode of exams, others complain of not completing the portion before taking offline exams. “I am absolutely disappointed with the state of affairs,” states Dr Advaitya Desai, a father from Ponda who has two sons, one in XII and the other in XI. Both the sons are attending online classes but only a handful of the teachers are competent to take online classes, says Dr Desai, who keeps a check while his sons attend.

“In the preparatory holiday too, some of the teachers who did not complete the portion took online class and completed four Physics lessons of 125 pages in a single day, as the exam, that too offline, was the next day. How can a student learn or answer exams in such speedy method”, asked and irritated Dr Desai. 

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