Telangana: Parents Oppose Re-opening Of Schools When The Govt., Is Still Struggling To Contain Covid19
Category: Telangana

Hyderabad: The Unlock 5 guidelines released by the Ministry of the Home Affairs have evoked a mixed response from the state's parents, teachers and school management. Parents strongly condemn the reopening of schools for pupils, as the Covid-19 pandemic is still enclosed. Any such change, they claim, would be hazardous to the health of not only their wards, but also members of the family at home. As educational institutions have remained closed for the last four months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, online teaching has been taken up by the government and private school management. Though state schools hold online digital classes through Doordarshan Yadagiri and T-SAT Network channels for school students, private school management takes classes via live video conference applications. Now, parents want to continue this mode of online teaching and learning process before normalcy is restored.

Anish K, a father, said that instead of sending them to school, he would prefer online classes for his children. Given the case, there should be a continuation of online courses. "I'm not going to send my kids to school until the situation returns to normal or until there is a Covid-19 vaccine," he says. Echoing similar opinions, Joint Secretary K Venkat Sainath of the Hyderabad School Parents Association said they would not put the lives of their children at risk by sending them to colleges. The latest parliamentary session was cut short due to a growing number of Covid-19 incidents, but now they want the schools to reopen for students. "I strongly oppose any move to reopen schools in the present situation," says Sainath. On the other hand, teachers are pitching for students to reopen schools, but with strict security protocols in place. In fact, as part of the Unlock 4 guidelines, a maximum of 50% of teachers have attended school duties and since September 21 have been working from home.

“It all started working, and why should schools be stopped? The mixed mode, i.e. the online and offline teaching mode should be started strictly following the safety measures of Covid-19. In order to retain physical distance, schools should be run in a change framework with more students. Apart from this, in schools, the government must take up sanitisation and provide masks and sanitisers,” said Ch Ravi, Secretary General, Telangana State United Teachers’ Federation.

The administration of private schools is ready to reopen schools for students, given they obtain funding from the government of the Union. “We want sanitisation in private schools as well, just as in government schools, and must necessarily have masks and sanitisers. First, with high school followed by primary and pre-primary schools, the reopening of schools should be achieved in a graded manner and it should be in a shift framework. We want full support for the reopening of schools from the Union government, ” said Y Shekhar Rao, president of the Telangana Recognized School Managements Association.

The Guidelines

  • State / UT governments have flexibility to decide in a graded manner after October 15 for the re-opening of schools and coaching institutions.
  • Decisions should be made in consultation with the appropriate management of the school / institution.
  • Online / distance learning continues to be favoured and promoted in teaching.
  • Schools approved to reopen should follow SOP on Covid's health and safety precautions.
  • Students can only attend schools or institutions with the written permission of parents.
  • Attendance must not be imposed and must be fully contingent on parental consent.

The Challenges

  • Maintaining physical distancing in schools and classrooms
  • School premises sanitisation
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