Odisha Schools Reopen To Lukewarm Response From Private Students

Bhubaneswar: Schools across the state have reopened for Class X and XII students but private schools are yet to begin functioning in the offline mode. Since attending classes is the prerogative of the students and their parents, most of them are yet reluctant.

At a number of schools in the city, consent was taken from the parents and in most cases, less than 50 per cent agreed to send their wards to school. Most private schools in the state have decided to pursue the offline mode from August.

Sarat Kar from Sai International School in the city said, “Although we have begun the process for starting physical classes, students will start coming only from September. Parents are still apprehensive and since we have a very robust online system of learning, it does not put much impact on the learning of the students.”

The schools were opened complying strictly with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) issued by the State School and Mass Education Department to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Schools also confirm that they have been getting regular calls from the government asking the number of students that have joined back.

Prior to the resumption of classes in the schools, all work areas including classrooms, furniture, libraries, laboratories and storage places of common use were sanitised by the authorities.

A separate isolation room has been marked in all the schools and kept ready. The room will be used in case any student or staff develops COVID symptoms. Special seating arrangements have been made to enable students to maintain social distancing while attending classes.

A number of parents said that they would make a final decision if lockdown restrictions ease from next month.

“My son travels to school in public transport. There is still a risk of getting infected due to the pandemic. We will make a decision once the situation normalises,” said Susmita Mohanty, mother of a Class XII student.

“Successive lockdowns and the threat of a third wave have left us with only one option –  online classes. Physical classroom teaching amidst the pandemic endangers the lives of our children. So, virtual online learning must be pursued at least till the fear and forecast of the third-wave has subsided,” said Ankit Behera, a parent.

Educationists feel private schools will manage with offline classes due to better infrastructure and the standard of living of the families.

“It is a known fact that private schools in urban and semi-urban areas of the state will manage offline classes better than government schools. Students studying in government schools will have no choice. However, private schools students have online facilities both at home and school, so the physical attendance will be very less,” said Shibani Routray who has been teaching students of Class X for the last five years.

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