Is it safe to send children to school before COVID-19 vaccines hit the market – Times of India


Under unlock 5, schools and colleges have been allowed to run physical classes, however, local authorities and parents are free to take a final call on the reopening and sending their wards, respectively.

No option but to open school

School should start in a phased manner observing the standard operating procedure (SOPs) and guidelines issued by the Centre and the state government; however, the consent of the parents in sending the children to the school should be mandatory. We are left with no option but to open the schools dealing with three types of students; one who will attend school, second who will partially attend while the third might not attend classes at all, until the vaccines come up. It is our prime duty to cater to all the three segments which is only possible when we migrate to technology-enabled learning and blended education and this will certainly be the new normal.


Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, advisor and working president of Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan, Government of Odisha

Blended learning will be appropriate

NEP 2020 envisions greater role of digitalisation in education wherein students are exposed to various ways of learning and interacting. At this critical juncture when the whole world is awaiting the vaccine to COVID- 19, our education system will have to gear up to provide a safe and healthy learning environment to our students. Blended learning will be appropriate in the current juncture. Conducting full-fledged physical classroom will not be ideal for all students in one go as we are yet to have any vaccine in place. Small kids are more vulnerable to the virus than the young. To mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the school education system, going ahead with the blended learning will be an ideal situation for everyone.

— Bharat Chandra Rout, Full-bright scholar and guardian of class III student, New Delhi

Senior students should be allowed first

Before opening the school, screening, or rapid test of all the students, staff and teachers should be done. Schools should ensure screening or antigen test on a fortnightly or monthly basis. To maintain social distancing, schools should function in two shifts. Essential items such as mask, sanitiser and sanitiser-tunnel, should be made available on the campus. The temperature of students and teachers should be checked regularly. Students and teachers should carry their own food, water bottles and stationary. The school opening process should be slow and gradual. Senior students should be allowed first whereas junior students should continue with the online mode.

— Alka Rai, parent of a class XII, student, New Delhi

Schools should function on 50% strength

The decision to open the schools is certainly in the larger interest of the students of classes VI and above. Any further delay would hamper their studies, more so in the case of subjects where practical classes are necessary. We must, therefore, welcome this timely decision. The schools must ensure that all COVID-19 related precautionary measures are taken. One such important measure is to arrange where only half of the strength of students is present on any given day. Whatever may be the case, parental consent should be mandatory. However, under no circumstances students of the primary wing should be called for physical classes.

— Soni Singh, parent of a class VII, student, Noida





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