Not only has 2021 been significant with the start of the COVID vaccination drives in India, but schools have also finally started to open up in some parts of the country for students of senior secondary grades.
In Delhi, schools have been thrown open for class 10 and 12 children in a graded manner. While in-person attendance is still optional, many feel that reopening schools right now comes as good help for kids who are preparing to sit for their board exams, scheduled to happen in-real this year.
As worrying as the thought of sending children to the schools sounds right now, school authorities are ensuring the strongest of discipline and social distancing measures.
While parental consent in writing is a must, schools are following standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Directorate of Education last year stringently.
What are the measures being taken right now?
With kids resuming a new normal school life, sanitisers and masks have been added to the mandatory school supplies list.
As per Jyoti Yadav, Lady Irvin Senior Secondary School, Delhi, the first day of schools reopening after almost a year was smooth and saw no difficulties.
Commenting on the measures being taken right now, Jyoti Yadav added that students have been told to wear a mask at all times and carry a spare mask as well. Apart from this, the entry of kids is only allowed after thermal contactless scanning is done at the entry point. Social distancing has been strictly enforced and students asked to maintain 6-feet distance at all times.
Institutions will also be sanitizing the classroom space after every class, minimizing the risk of infection. Several schools have also demarcated a special medical room to attend to any patient with coronavirus symptoms. Ample PPE kits, quarantine measures have been brought into use as well.
Another thing which has probably changed is that there will a tighter grasp on the discipline followed too. As a measure, kids have also been advised not to share their lunch boxes, water with fellow students and not loiter around in the school premises as well.
As per government authorities, right now, students and teachers coming from containment zones won’t be allowed to visit right now.
The new normal has also forced schools to ditch out typical school activities- assembly, physical activity periods or any time of group activities.
Are parents ready to send kids back to school? Is it really safe?
Schools have been gradually opening up in states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh since October 2020. Globally too, a number of schools have opened up in the USA, UK, Korea and China. Colleges, to have opened up.
As per a recent survey, a large percentage of parents are still not confident about sending their kids back to school.
There are many also who feel that schools are one of the most contagious and super-spreading places for novel coronavirus, even as we wait for a COVID-19 to be rolled out for kids.
Right now, sending kids back to school is a personal decision, but also a very tough one. With discoveries of newer strains and stranger symptoms, many feel that starting physical school may not be the best decision right now.
If you must send kids back, ensure the premises and the measures taken in the classroom are more than enough to guarantee a safe space for kids. As per CDC recommendations, all schools opening up should also have isolation rooms, medical help and report exposures too.