Senior classes at Delhi schools to reopen from 1 September; no child will be forced to attend, says Sisodia

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After remaining shut from March last year, schools in Delhi will finally reopen in a phased manner from 1 September.

According to sources, classes for grades 9-12 will begin from 1 September and that for 6-8 grades from 8 September.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announcing the same said that no student would be forced to attend and those who wish to will need their parents’ permission.

The decision to reopen schools comes at a time when the national capital is seeing a marked improvement in the coronavirus situation.

According to reports, an expert committee set up by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had recommended the phase-wise reopening of the schools from next month.

In its report, the panel said that students from senior classes should be called in the first phase followed by the middle-grade students and ultimately the primary classes.

The committee had also said that willing parents should have the option of sending their child to school and others can opt for online classes.

While many states opted to reopen schools in July and August, the expert panel suggested that Delhi should take some more time and should reopen schools only in a phased manner starting from September.

Schools have been reopening across the nation, with experts insisting that physical classes are a must for the child’s wellbeing.

In fact, even UNICEF in a statement in early July said, “This should not go on. Schools should be the last to close and the first to reopen.”

It further added, “The losses that children and young people will incur from not being in school may never be recouped. From learning loss, mental distress, exposure to violence and abuse, to missed school-based meals and vaccinations or reduced development of social skills, the consequences for children will be felt in their academic achievement and societal engagement as well as physical and mental health. The most affected are often children in low-resource settings who do not have access to remote learning tools, and the youngest children who are at key developmental stages.

“That’s why reopening schools for in-person learning cannot wait.

“It cannot wait for cases to go to zero.”

However, parents remain sceptical of the plan to reopen schools amid the concern of a possible third wave.

“The risk is not over yet. Reopening schools right before October-November during which the third wave has been predicted by experts, is not a wise decision. A system for online learning is already in place and extending it for few weeks or a month more will not cause any major harm when schools have been closed for so long already,” Aparajita Gautam, president, Delhi Parents’ Association told PTI news agency.

Deeksha Verma, mother of a nine-year-old, said, “A flexible plan is a better option. If schools have to be reopened, they should not resume full time classes. There can be blended learning in beginning. We all know several countries are seeing resurgence in cases and we could be next”.

With inputs from agencies

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