Chandigarh, August 2
Schools for all classes reopened in Punjab on Monday, with physical classes resuming after a gap of a few months for pre-primary levels.
The attendance was reported more from rural areas while turnout at many private schools was not that high.
The state government on Saturday had allowed reopening of schools for all classes from August 2 as it further relaxed Covid restrictions in the wake of declining cases.
While all coronavirus-related protocols will have to be strictly followed, parents will have to provide a written consent for their children to attend schools from 8 am to 2 pm.
Officials said schools reopened for all classes across the state on Monday.
Earlier, schools had reopened for pre-primary levels and classes 1 and 2 in Punjab in February this year after a gap of nearly 10 months after classes were suspended in March 2020 following the outbreak of Covid.
Before deciding to reopen schools for all classes from August 2, the government had already allowed reopening of schools for Classes 10 to 12 from July 26.
Virtual classes will continue for students who are unable to attend classes at schools.
At many places including Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Rupnagar, Mohali and Patiala, children looked in a happy and festive mood as they returned to their respective schools after a long break.
Ridhi, a student of Class 9 at DAV Public School in BRS Nagar in Ludhiana, expressed happiness over the decision. "We were really fed up sitting at home," she said.
Payal, a Class 9 student in Rupnagar, said she had been missing her teachers and friends and was now feeling delighted to attend the school.
A science student from Amritsar, Rajbir Kaur, said, "It is not possible to take practical classes while sitting at home and without a science lab."
Some parents, however, expressed apprehension on classes resuming in physical mode amid the pandemic.
In Patiala city, 50 per cent attendance was reported in the schools while villages recorded a higher percentage.
According to Gurmukh Singh, father of an eighth class student of a government school in Patiala, he did not send his child to school because the children had not yet been vaccinated against Covid.
Another parent from Patiala, who did not wish to disclose his name, said there was pressure from the "private school lobby" to reopen schools for all classes.
In Rupnagar and some other districts, thin attendance was seen in primary classes, while in Ferozepur, both students and parents had mixed reactions on government's decision to reopen schools for all classes.
Although most parents are still worried about Covid, they said they would monitor the progress of the reopening of schools for a week.
Some parents claimed that their wards were unable to learn well through online classes due to the internet connectivity issue.
Many parents expressed apprehensions about a possible spike in Covid cases.
"Of course, I am worried about my daughter's safety, even though she is excited. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid situation, you feel scared," said Pooja Vohra, a parent in Ferozepur.
Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema sought to know from the state government on the basis of which report of doctors and education experts did it take "such a big decision" (on reopening all classes) relating to the lives of 60.5 lakh children, who constitute 20 per cent of the state's total population. PTI
School staff welcome students in Patiala
Patiala: School staff welcomed the students on the first day of opening of government schools in the district.
The schools were closed owing to the second Covid wave. Students were screened at the entrance.
School administration said all the teachers who are attending school, have already received at least one dose of Covid vaccine. “Majority of teachers are fully vaccinated while all of them have received one dose. Besides, Covid-appropriate behaviour is being followed by both the students and teachers.”
The district education department said random sampling of students would be done at schools. TNS
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