For the first time in two years, schools in the national capital will open completely in offline mode from April 1 with the city’s disaster management authority on Friday giving its nod to end the hybrid mode of operation.
Schools in the national capital were closed in March 2020 ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While schools reopened in phases whenever the Covid-19 situation permitted, they have been operating in the hybrid mode and students were allowed to attend offline classes only with their parents’ consent.
The National Progressive Schools Conference (NPSC), which has over 120 private schools as its members, termed the decision “too little, too late”.
“Why April 1? It should have been allowed from March 1. Children from nursery to class VIII have huge learning gap as we are observing them. In March, we could have focussed our efforts to bridge that gap so that children would have been ready for the next grade in April,” NPSC Chairperson Sudha Acharya said.
“Teachers are overburdened with online & offline teaching and assessment. They are no less than frontline workers and warriors. Teacher’s mental health and wellbeing is of utmost important for us to deliver quality education, creating a happy and joyful environment in the school,” she added.
Anshu Mittal, Principal, MRG School, Rohini welcomed the decision.
“We welcome this move to reopen the schools for students as now we foresee a major population of students in this age group would have received their first shot and also towards completing their second. We haven't bent down in front of this pandemic and we still won't. Children who are in school seek complete focus of their mentor and are bubbling with energy which was curtailed for almost two years, whereas children whose parents have still opted for online mode may feel that spark of personal interaction is missing," she told PTI.
“As educators, we have to ensure that a balance is maintained so that no one feels left out. The pandemic took a toll on the emotional as well as physical wellbeing of learners. Yet, we were able to bridge the learning gaps to a large extent by focusing on experiential learning and social skill development activities which result in a smooth transition to offline mode," she added.
Her thoughts were echoed by Shubhi Soni, Head of the school, The Shri Ram Wonder Years, Rohini.
“We are excited and geared up for starting a new session in brick and mortar scenario which means physical classes from April. It is a sigh of relief for all the parents and the educators as for preschoolers it is important to grow, play and enjoy with their peers in a congenial environment provided at school. Setting up their daily routine is a task for the parents and educators too.
“Need of the hour is to provide them an environment where they are given a platform to interact with peers, express themselves freely, engage in physical activities, pretend play, group activities with peers. We have designed many attractive activities for the new session and this we know would motivate the students to attend school regularly. We are focusing more on physical activity as many students have become physically unfit due to the sedentary life style they had been leading for nearly two years,” she said.
The Delhi Parents Association (DPA) also welcomed the decision but expressed hope that the transportation issue which has deterred parents from sending children to schools during the hybrid mode of operations will be resolved.
“We welcome the decision to open the schools completely from new session 1st April. Most parents in Delhi had demanded for the same that school should only open from new session 2022-23. Hopefully with the opening of schools, the guidelines regarding school transportation will also come out soon,” said DPA President Aparajita Gautam.
“The disappointing part is that the old order, in which classes were supposed to be held in the hybrid mode with parent's consent, is being disregarded by most of the schools.
“Children are being forced to go offline for the final exams by saying that if they do not come to the school they will not be promoted and won't get the facility of online exams,” she added.