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School reopening: Parents exhibit Covid fatigue, protocols sidelined

School reopening: Parents exhibit Covid fatigue, protocols sidelined

June 22, 2022
Reshma Ravishanker

Just two weeks into the commencement of in-person classes across the Country, parents have begun to exhibit Covid fatigue, asking schools to relax Covid-19 mandates.

With the number of cases remaining constant in most states and no indication of another wave of Covid-19, parents have begun to show Covid fatigue, giving leeway to their children while following protocols.

School managements are finding that students are attending in person on campus, even without carrying a mask in the bag in several cases.

Dr Chandrashekar DP, CEO, Jain Group of Institutes Schools said that since the commencement of classes, complacency among parents is evident.

“In the first week, we noticed that 80 % of students did not even carry a mask while coming to school. This was happening despite multiple mails, SMS reminders and calls from the school about Covid-19 protocols. Parents believe Covid is a thing in the past. There is a tendency to be relaxed. We had to ask principals to then give a stern warning in the assembly after which the situation improved,” he said.

There is still laxity among parents even towards vaccination. “Some feel cases are down, and vaccination can wait. Some others have inhibitions over reports in the media regarding the side effects including hormone changes and heart attacks as side effects. Such children could put peers and teachers at risk.”

While schools agree to this, managements say they have a different set of challenges following Covid-19 protocols. Rohan Bhat, chairman, Children’s Academy Group of Schools, Mumbai said, “Parents are starting to question us about mandating their children wearing the mask. They want to know that when the government is not enforcing it, why are we?”

Bhat said that previously, when classes had not resumed full-fledged, the school could be sanitized four times but with classes commencing in full swing and attendance being high, only twice is possible now. “We had to depute six staff and double the numbers to conduct checks at entry points.”

Renuka Nair, director, Fun N Learn, a preschool in Bengaluru believes that for preschoolers, mandating masks would be impossible. “We have two kinds. One set of parents who are extremely particular about protocols and the others who are indifferent. In a lot of cases, parents themselves do not send the child with a mask on. Teachers are asked to always wear it. However, we noticed that children are unable to learn phonetics when teachers have the mask on. When in class, they stand away from the students, take off masks and teach them pronunciation,” she said.  

Also Read: Schools grapple with children’s socio-emotional loss after reopening

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