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Karnataka: Apprehensive parents await vaccination to send children to school

October 28, 2021
Reshma Ravishanker 

As parents are reluctant to take admissions or await vaccination for their children, attendance in classes one to five has been snarling at a snail’s pace with most schools reporting less than 40 % presence in the in-person classes.

The Karnataka state government permitted the commencement of offline classes I to V standard students and on day 1, a mere 27% attendance was recorded on day 1. School authorities have claimed that the percentage has remained the same even as it is day three since reopening.

R Vishal, commissioner, department of public instruction said that the government was hopeful of getting the numbers upto 50% post Diwali.

“I would not call it mandatory for schools to commence classes in the offline mode only. However, we are definitely encouraging schools to start in-person classes and parents to send them willingly. One must understand that there are three aspects to learning- learning, social interaction and play. If this is compromised, the child misses out on the learning experience,” he said. Several private unaided schools in the state have unofficially intimated parents that classes would only commence post-Diwali.

Parents, on the other hand, are awaiting the vaccination to begin to send their children to school. “When we can wait for offices to reopen for all employees to be vaccinated, similar must be the rule for schools. Once my child is vaccinated, I would not hold back. Although severity is not much among children, isolating them in case of infection is a challenge,” said Moumitha, one of the parents.

Meanwhile, D Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Private Schools in Karnataka said that the responses are varied. “We know of students attending classes in government schools even before permission was granted. There is a contrast side as well. One set of parents from the elite classes who are working from home and have uninterrupted access to online learning are preferring online learning or awaiting vaccines. Our challenge is that just 20% of parents have completed admissions for classes I and II across most schools as they do not want to pay the fee entirely and are testing waters. Some have not paid the previous year’s fee are just hoping to push through this academic year as well,” he said. 

Also read: Schools reopen for class 1 to 5 students in Karnataka

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