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Ensuring social distancing among students a big challenge

Do you think reopening of schools is in the interest of students?

Ensuring social distancing among students a big challenge

The administration should continue to monitor the situation closely while ensuring that all necessary precautions at the schools are taken seriously. Tribune photo

Wait & watch approach, rotation system should be put to use before calling students to schools, feel parents

Odd-even formula can be applied to classes

Schools have remained closed since late March. The online shift in education has come to the rescue of students in a virtual world amidst a plethora of issues and concerns. It has been seen that students without devices and adequate internet facilities cannot rely on e-learning. Those helpless and hapless are forced to drop out defeating the very purpose of online teaching and learning. Online education has turned out to be the worst one for special children who have been meted out a step-motherly treatment. Their needs have not been taken care of appropriately. Consequently, they lagged behind in their curriculum. Besides those who attend online classes also face acute strain on eyes and suffer headaches owing to protracted screen time. In such a grim scenario, the reopening of educational institutions is the only solution available. However, as the Covid cases have not stopped rising altogether, the parents of the school-going children are having some reservations. A majority of them don't support the move. According to a survey conducted, only 33% parents approve the state's decision by which the schools have reopened. They parents have their own valid reasons. They don't want to risk their child's health by exposing them outdoors. It is feared that that schools won't be able to maintain social distancing in classrooms and around the premises. It is being argued that the virus spread will increase manifold in the reopened schools. Also, the senior citizens' health is at stake in the family if a school-going child catches infection. This scepticism among the parents is due to how dozens of students and teachers had tested positive in the USA when the schools were reopened. Israel was the first country to reopen schools but within a few days their hundreds of students and teachers got infected. But then, schools can't be kept closed indefinitely. Since everything has been opened, there is no harm in the reopening of schools. But the schools ought to adhere to CDC hygiene guidelines. They can be run in two shifts to maintain distancing. The odd-even formula can be taken into consideration. Rotation system can be adopted where each class goes to school to clear their doubts. Already students have been advised not to share anything. They are to wear masks in and outside the classroom. The government cannot sustain online classes via radio, TV and financial support. Hence, the reopening of schools is the only viable solution.

Tarsem S Bumrah

QUESTION

People are developing complacency during the festival season. Experts have warned of another Covid wave in the winter season. What measures the Punjab Government should take to curb the second surge?
Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to amritsardesk@ tribunemail.com by Thursday (October 29).

Decision can do more harm than good

This is not the right time to open schools as opposed to cinemas or marriage palaces. The primary reason is that most adolescents may not follow the Covid-19 guidelines as strictly as adults. They can be monitored inside the school premises but once they are outside, there may be no one to monitor them. Considering the age, they might just break rules for fun. The cases are decreasing and it is expected that the pandemic may be controlled by the start of the next year. With the festival season approaching, people need to be more aware. Even parents are reluctant to send their wards to schools till the pandemic is over. So, the schools must not open before 2021.

Jatinderpal Singh

Schools had to reopen someday anyway

The move is welcomed as children are getting snappy staying at home. Moreover, one or the other day this was supposed to happen. The school authorities need to be very cautious and should keep follow the norms. Students of senior classes are mature enough to understand the current scenario. How long the pandemic will stay, nobody knows this, so life has to be lived normally but with all precautions.

Saahil Hans

Decision depends on multiple factors

Reopening of schools is a controversial decision. It actually depends on multiple local factors, hence, it should be a local decision and not a general one applying everywhere. The local infection rate, the caseload and the ability of the schools to handle the situation etc, have to be taken into consideration. Reopening can be a good decision in one city but it may not be for another city. A period of one year is nothing in the whole life of a student. Many things are still vague. Who will be held responsible in case the students get infected eventually infecting their families and whole society in general. The youngsters are being held responsible for the fresh spike in cases in Canada and England. The second best option of online teaching is available. Wait and watch approach for some more time should be the need of the hour. The ball is in the court of the parents now. They should use their own acumen to make the final crucial decision.

Anil Sharma

Tough but it's time for regular classes

Remaining closed for more than six months due to the lockdown, schools and coaching institutes in Punjab started functioning in a graded manner from October 15. The State announced that it would allow the partial reopening of schools and coaching institutions with strict protocols. Teachers have done magnificently during the pandemic, because the sudden transition to online teaching, learning how to use software tools to prepare and present teaching materials is a difficult task. Tests are being conducted and the school management as well as the teachers are doing a remarkable job. If the schools throughout the world reopened a few months ago, our country can also follow suit. Reopening, even in a phased manner, poses a lot of challenges for school managements given that enforcing discipline among people like distancing and wearing of masks is still a difficult proposition. It is also difficult for teachers who would have to get used to wearing masks while teaching and keep a check on for the same during class hours. At the same time, they will have to continue with the rigors of online teaching like preparing material online, correcting homework and internal assessments. As of now, the SoP by the government clearly says that students from Classes XI-XII can go to school on a voluntary basis to clear doubts. However, most parents in urban area are planning to wait for another ten days for sending their wards to school. Physical presence of students in class enhances confidence of students as well as teachers. Online education was right, but it is not a long term solution. Too much exposure to screens of mobiles and laptops leads to a feeling of isolation and anxiety in the current scenario. This can have an adverse physical impact on children. Now, it is time to shift it to regular classes.

Amarjit Kalsi

Shut gates for at least 5 more months

Attendance card on Day 1 was 2,000/61,000 of senior students. Considering the attendance of students of Classes XI to XII, I ponder that schools must remain closed for five more months ie another session. Parents are not willing to send their wards to school premises. Considering the safety, schools must remain closed. I, too, am a student and my parents are also not sure of sending me to school. Students are very prominent section of this society and are the future citizens and must be protected from the disease. Analysing, schools must remain closed considering the safety of students.

Izleen

Why putting more lives at risk?

The basic difference between imparting of education at school and college is that all students at a school come at a fixed time and leave the premises also at a fixed time, whereas in colleges, student's arrival and departure varies according to their periods. So, gathering at the beginning and finishing time at schools is unavoidable. Also, most of the school students make use of the school bus, where physical distancing is not possible. Moreover, formula of 50 per cent occupancy in classrooms is not possible. The choice of online study or physical attendance is out of question because it involves huge financial resources. Above all, when online studies are giving satisfactory results why state government is putting efforts to venture into this risky step. Both the stakeholders, school managements and parents are not favouring starting of schools at this stage. Although the cases are declining, but still, the disease has not disappeared. Many countries in the world are facing the second wave. Instead of putting efforts in this venture, the state government should make efforts to revive tourism in the holy city as whole of the economy depends heavily upon this single sector.

Naresh Johar

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