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Schools reopen in Kmr’, but fear-stricken parents discourage wards to attend classes amid COVID-19

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, Sep 21 (KINS): A very thin attendance of students marked the first day of the reopening of schools in Kashmir on Monday, the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlock 4 guidelines allow schools to partially reopen from 21 September, stating that students from Classes 9 to 12 will be allowed to visit teachers for a limited time to seek guidance. Parent consent is mandatory, and the relaxation doesn’t apply to containment zones.

According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 8 September, only 50 per cent of teaching/non-teaching staff will be allowed on the premises, and attendance is not mandatory for students.

Schools reopening will also have to schedule activities and chart out a seating plan to ensure physical distancing of 6 feet, wherever feasible, among students and teachers.

Assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding have been strictly prohibited.

Though the authorities had made safety arrangements in the schools but It was found that the majority of students were not yet willing to attend the schools amid the air of the pandemic still around since the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread like wildfire across the country.

“We are waiting for the children to arrive, and we have followed the entire advisory issued by the government for resuming the schools. All COVID-19 protocols have been adhered to and everyone is taking care to not slack off with masks and sanitizers,” Asifa, a teacher at the one of the Girls Higher Secondary School told news agency KINS.

Sources said that in some private institutions, arrangements were made as per the standard operating procedures of the Union Government but many government schools were opened without sanitisation as authorities had not made any arrangement to make buildings free from the virus.

“I am not going to put the life of my son at the stake to follow the reckless decision taken by the authorities to open schools at a time when COVID-19 is spreading fast in the valley,” Shabir Ahmad , father of a student of one of the schools here in Srinagar said.

“How can we take a risk by sending our children to school amid a surge in positive cases,” he questioned?

“I am not going to submit the indemnity bond. Authorities have decided to open the schools and they have to take the responsibility of the safety of students,” said Aatiqa, a resident of Bemina of Srinagar district.

Interestingly only Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Karnataka have decided to partially open the schools.

Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary, School Education, had tweeted on Sunday: “Schools reopening not for regular classes but consultation by volunteer secondary students on consent of parents with 50% teachers on roster as per MHA lockdown 4 guidelines & Min of health & FW protocols conveyed by chief secretary & circulated to DCs/directors/CEOs.”(KINS)

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