Not many parents in Mumbai open to idea of restarting schools: Experts – ht school
The reopening of schools in the city, which are closed until at least January 15 amid fears of a new strain of the virus that causes Covid, is likely to receive a mixed response, experts say.
Several government and subsidized schools await reopening, citing loss of learning in online mode. Private schools, however, are considering continuing with the online mode, as parents are willing to send their children only after vaccination. Private schools said they have a Covid-19 protocol in case they are allowed to physically open, but not many parents would be able to opt for the plan.
“We have all the resources for online learning and over the past few months, our students have been able to cope with the new normal. While we are prepared to reopen, we have concerns about parents sending their children to school as there is still a lot of anxiety about the virus. We have not taken their views, as it makes sense to do so only after permits have been granted to physically reopen, ”said Rohan Bhat, president of the Children’s Academy School Group, which has schools in Kandivli and Malad.
Some schools said they are still exploring the possibility of calling in some students just for tests and practices.
“For the upper grades, Class 9 and Class 10, we expect students to practice writing an actual exam and therefore we would like to call them in case the authorities allow it. Most of our parents are ready to send their children for this purpose, ”said Kavita Sanghvi, principal of Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School in Vile Parle.
The school has also prepared its campus by ensuring regular sanitation, posting informational signs about the rules regarding social distancing on each floor. Father Francis Swamy, principal of St Mary’s School (ICSE), Mazagaon, said that while the institute plans to continue its learning modules online, it is exploring the idea of calling in students for select interactions if authorities allow it.
“The children have been locked up in their homes for a long time and we want them to come and interact with the teachers and with each other and do some activities together with due precautions,” he added.
The scenario is different in subsidized and government-run schools, which are awaiting guidance from local authorities to start classes offline. Many schools said that while online learning was interesting at first, it is slowly losing its charm as teachers cannot measure how much a child has understood.
“As the class size is large, it is difficult to know if the children have understood in the online mode. We are eager to start teaching offline because children, especially in class 10, require practice solving papers, ”said Jagdish Indalkar, Principal, KVK School, Ghatkopar. The school has purchased disinfection machines and installed hand washing stations in all bathrooms.
The principal of a civic school in the eastern suburbs said that while attendance is likely to be average in the early days, it will slowly increase.
“Parents must be confident that it is safe to send their children to schools and that will only happen if we make the decision to partially reopen,” he added. Arundhati Chavan, president of the United Forum of the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) said that while parents are gradually trying to make peace with the fact that offline schools would have to start, many of those who have the option to continue online may choose to do so. “Parents, especially from low-income families, may want to send their children to schools if the institutes take the right steps because learning is having an impact without offline classes. A blended learning model seems to be the way to go, ”he added.