Karnataka schools, parents worried about offline classes resuming for students of Class 6 onwards

D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said it is inevitable for schools to welcome back students in full strength although the timing “looked unfavourable”.

Even as schools (from Class 6) and pre-university colleges (where classes equivalent to Class 9 and 12 are held) in Karnataka have been asked to conduct classes at 100 per cent capacity from Friday, the schools and parents are wary of their wards stepping into campuses as an anticipated third wave of the pandemic continues to loom over their head.

D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) told indianexpress.com it is inevitable for schools to welcome back students in full strength although the timing “looked unfavourable”.

“We had to compensate for the learning deficit that the students have been subjected to for the last 18 months at least now. However, schools have been reminded that adhering to all Covid guidelines is very important. The situation at large (of the pandemic) has overburdened private schools in total,” he said.

He added that school management and teachers will be more stressed than during the lockdown days. “Teachers have no other choice but to play a double role by being present at both offline and online academic sessions as we expect at least a few parents will not prefer sending their wards to schools yet,” he said.

As per the standard operating procedures (SoPs) issued earlier by the government, a maximum of two students will be allowed to be seated on a bench, with each bench placed at a sufficient distance from the other.
“This seems to be a major challenge for budget schools like ours as we face infrastructural limitations to do so. However, we are now planning on how to ensure all our children are kept off the infection while at school as they have already missed out on school a lot,” the headmistress of a private school in Malleshwaram said.

The recent reports of students contracting Covid-19 once classes resumed have left a section of parents worried. “While we would like to believe such instances were isolated ones, sending out our children without them being vaccinated against Covid-19 is still a risk. However, they cannot be kept at home for a longer while as their exposure to screens at home and limited interactions with peers have already had a toll on their well-being,” Renu S, a parent of two students (one each in Class 6 and Class 10) of a private school in South Bengaluru said.

Meanwhile, the state government is yet to take a decision on reopening schools for primary classes up to the fifth standard. Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh hinted that a decision would be taken only after the Dasara vacation, scheduled to be from October 10 to 20.

“Experts from the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee have asked us to wait and watch the situation, keeping in mind the rise in viral fever and dengue cases. A meeting will be convened after the Dasara holidays to decide on reopening primary schools,” he said.

Earlier, offline classes were permitted to be held in batches for students of classes 9 to 12 from August 23 and for students of classes 6 to 8 from September 6.

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