– Mita Mukherjee
Schools in West Bengal reopened on Friday for resumption of in-person classes after eleven months with all Covid-19 safety measures in place.
Most institutions said 60 to 70 per cent students attended the classes on the first day of the school despite the 12-hour general strike from 6 am which was called by the Left parties in Bengal today protesting police action on a rally organized by some Left student and youth organisations demanding jobs on Thursday.
There were disruptions in plying of public and private vehicles in some parts of Kolkata and in the districts because of the strike but students reached the campuses on time, heads of several schools said.
Mukta Nain, director of Birla High Schools said nearly 70 per cent students attended the school.
“Students were very keen to attend the classes after remaining in home for several months. Some students who had said they would attend the classes today did not turn up. Had there been no bandh, the attendance of students would have been higher. We had asked the students of Classes X and XII, who will be appearing in the board exams this year to come to attend the school today for practical and clearing doubts,” Nain told EducationWorld.
At South Point School, students of only Classes XII were called in different slots on the first day of the school today but students’ attendance was “quite good”.
“Today was the first day so we had called only the Class XII students for doing the practical. The attendance was quite good. We were happy to see the enthusiasm among students to attend the in-person classes,” said Krishna Damani trustee of the South Point School.
The Bengal government had recently announced that schools which have been shut since March last year as a precaution against Covid-19 would reopen for classes IX to XII from February 12.
After the announcement, the school education department of Bengal issued detailed guidelines containing instructions on the measures need to be taken by schools for holding the physical classes in the new normal state and what students, teachers and parents would have to follow.
Sujoy Biswas, principal of Rammohan Mission High School said more than 60 per cent students attended the Day-1 offline classes in his institution today. All the classes were held strictly adhering to all the safety protocols.
“We held the classes in two shifts to avoid crowding of students. Students of IX and XI came in the morning and those in X and XII came in the afternoon. No one was allowed to enter the campus without a mask. Social distancing norms were maintained in the classrooms as well in the entire campus,” said Biswas.
Students said they were happy to return to schools for attending the offline classes after remaining in homes for several months.
A Class XI student of Udaypur Haradayal Nag Adarsha Vidyalaya, a state-aided school in the northern fringe of Kolkata said, her parents were reluctant to allow her to step out of home on a day of bandh.
“I was dying to meet my school friends so ever since I came to know about the reopening of school I was anxiously waiting to attend the offline classes. My parents told me to stay at home today but I persuaded them to allow me to attend school,” the student said . The school recorded more than 80 per cent attendance of students.
All schools were repeatedly reminded by the state school education department to ensure that they followed the instructions prescribed in the school reopening guidelines of the government.
Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee on Thursday had reminded the schools that the government was keeping a “close watch” on the schools and the government would take “no risk” when it came to students’ health.
“The guidelines on how to ensure students’ safety were issued before. The schools should repeatedly carry out sanitization of the school premises. Wearing masks is mandatory for every school and they must also ensure social distancing,” Chatterjee said.News, States