Following a 19-month-long closure, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday decided that schools will reopen for all classes from November 1 with 50 per cent student strength, though classes will continue in the hybrid mode and no student will be forced to attend them offline.
The school is also ready with equipment like hands-free sanitisers at multiple common points. "We are hoping to make blended learning the future of education in India. However, for the blended pedagogy system to be implemented in real-time, we need students to be physically present in classrooms for the formative time to lay a foundation so that mutual consent of both students and teachers is undertaken. It is a welcoming decision and we look forward to having our students back on the campus," she told Education India
R C Jain, the chairman of Delhi State Public Schools' Management Association, an umbrella body of private schools, welcomed the move even though he maintained it is a "delayed decision"."Though a delayed decision, this was very much needed and we welcome the step. Schools will ensure that all Covid protocols are strictly followed and functioning gets back on track smoothly. The decision will also benefit students who have suffered because of the digital divide. "Teachers will have to buckle up to make up for the loss of learning to students in over one-and-half years," he said.
The Delhi State Public Schools' Management Association has been staging protests and petitioning the chief minister and LG for the reopening of schools. Bharat Arora, the General Secretary of Action Committee of Unaided Private Schools, said the entire school fraternity is delighted to hear about this notification.
"We are eager to welcome our kids back to the school after a long gap. Mutual trust and cooperation among schools, parents, students and teachers will make reopening safe and smooth. I am certain that schools will ensure the best possible safety protocols in schools," he added. Alka Kapur, the principal of Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, said schools needed to reopen as early as possible.
"Given the fact that the students need a nurturing classroom environment to learn and grow physically and mentally. We have reformed the school infrastructure per the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and we are ready to welcome the students back to school.
"However, I think schools need at least a few days to get things in order -- especially because Diwali and other festivals are round around the corner," she said. According to FICCI Arise, a collegium of stakeholders aimed at promoting quality education, the phased reopening of schools after a prolonged closure of about a year and a half has come as a welcome move for all stakeholders.
"Students are elated to be back on the school campus and interact with their peers and teachers in person. Their social, emotional and physical development, which had taken a backseat during online learning, is gradually getting back to normal with their active participation. The teachers are delighted to have students back in classrooms and get real-time feedback on their learning outcomes. Parents are happy to see their children returning to the wholesome learning experience in schools," said Shishir Jaipuria, Co-Chair, FICCI Arise.
Schools have taken a host of measures to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers. Best of all, school reopening brings a sense of return to normalcy after a protracted period of disruption. It is indeed a very positive move for the overall development of students, he said.
The Delhi government had earlier announced the reopening of schools for classes nine to 12, colleges and coaching institutions from September 1 following a marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the national capital. However, this is the first time that schools will reopen for all classes after the outbreak of the epidemic.