Back to school

Attendance card on Day 1: 2,000/61,000

Morning assembly & activities that require students to gather remain suspended

Attendance card on Day 1: 2,000/61,000

NEW NORMAL: Students undergo thermal scanning before entering the school. Tribune photos: Vishal

Neha Saini

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 19

Very few students chose to attend schools which reopened today for Classes IX to XII after a gap of seven months following the Covid-19 outbreak. Out of a total of 61,000 senior students in government schools of the district, only 2,000 attended regular classes on Day 1.

A class in progress at a government girls school in Amritsar on Monday. Tribune photos: Vishal

Morning assembly and activities that require students to gather in large numbers continue to remain suspended.

Abiding by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the authorities, students brought their own food and water bottles, along with consent letters from parents or guardians. Despite thin attendance, students seemed happy to be back to classroom teaching.

“It’s good to be back to school after seven months. Although online classes were also satisfactory as teachers guided us thoroughly, coming to the school and meeting friends and teachers is altogether a different experience,” said Jaspinder Kaur, a student of Class XII at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Mall Road.

Susheel, another student, said the resumption of regular classroom teaching would boost their morale. “Coming to the school and one-on-one interaction with teachers is very important as you get to learn many things and clear doubts. It’s sometimes difficult to understand certain lessons in digital classes due to disturbance in network.”

A teacher attributed the thin attendance to fear among parents as Covid cases are on the rise in the district. As part of the guidelines, all teachers and staff of government schools are to be tested for Covid.

All schools have made elaborate arrangements for thermal screening and sanitisation at the entrance. Classrooms were thoroughly sanitised. Benches were arranged at an adequate distance from each other.

“All safety norms have been put in place to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other staff members. Normally, 40 students sit in one classroom, but we have made arrangements for only 20 students to ensure social distancing. Students will be allowed to attend classes only after parental consent. The school canteen continues to remain shut. Students have been asked to wear mask, bring their own food and water and abstain from close contact with each other. Sanitisers have been placed at every point of contact,” said Mandeep Kaur, Principal, Govt Girls Sr Sec School, Mall Road.

DEO (Secondary) Satinderbir Singh said schools were being sanitised twice daily. “All SOPs are in place and we are encouraging teachers to reach out to parents to inform them about safety measures being taken. Online classes will continue for those who are choosing to stay at home.”

He said the thin attendance issue was temporary. “Teachers were tested for Covid before joining the duty and those found infected have been quarantined. We are following all safety guidelines,” he added.

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