Hyderabad: Some relief and more worry. Feelings are mixed as the Telangana government on Monday announced the reopening of schools and colleges in the state from February 1 — after 10 months of shutdown and several months of anticipation.
Predictably, most private school parents that Deccan Chronicle correspondents spoke to said they are worried over the health of their children herded back to schools and colleges in these still-unpredictable times. Seema Agarwal, parent of a Class 9 student said, "There is no need to open schools when kids are doing well with online classes. Most parents I know of are against this decision and wish the online classes are continued."
Parent of a Class 12 student, Ashwin Gupta, said, "As online classes are fine and we see results for our children, it should continue. In case of students with Class 12 board exams this year, other ways of clearing their doubts should be found. Until a vaccine is administered to all, we are not in support of sending our kids to school."
Sangeetha Rao, parent of a degree college first-year student, felt the decision was premature. "My daughter doesn't have much practical work for her course, so her classes can take place online. Can't this step wait until we have a vaccine, and it is safer for kids to be out on campus? At this point, no parent would be comfortable putting his or her kids at risk," she said.
Meanwhile, schools like Johnson Grammar School, Glendale Academy and Hyderabad Public School, among others, have promised that all safety measures will be in place.
For example, staggered entry and exit systems, lunch break in smaller groups, open space classes, and shortened class timings in schools are planned. Written consent will be taken from parents willing to send students to schools.
Budget schools, while welcoming the decision, are worried about the hike in expenses for sanitization procedures, and pleaded that the government or local bodies take care of such requirements, as is done for government schools.
Telangana Recognised School Management Association (TRSMA) general secretary Sadulla Madhusudhan referred to the delay in announcement of a clear academic calendar and detailed guidelines. "There are 11,000 schools in the state under the Telangana state board that are lagging behind, compared to the ICSE and CBSE schools because of lack of clarity and negligence by the government," he said.
Government schools in the state, on the other hand, plead that sanitation workers and volunteers be given to them to ensure a sterile environment for the returning students and teachers. Chava Ravi, general secretary, TSUTF, said: "Unlike other sessions, no sanitation worker was provided for government schools during 2020. The government should take over this procedure, with deep cleaning in all schools." He also said that while they were hoping for classes to start after Sankranti holiday, a delay will allow parents to prepare themselves to send their kids back to school.
To decide on further modalities for intermediate and higher education institutes, a meeting will take place with all concerned officials in the next few days. While the intermediate board is planning to hold classes in shifts, in morning and evening batches, or subject combinations to ensure social distancing, the higher education board will hold a meeting with university heads to decide on the road ahead, senior officials told Deccan Chronicle....