Schools in the national capital reopened on Monday after being closed since March, 2020. Classes have resumed for students in standards 10 and 12 in view of the upcoming board examinations.
The Delhi government on Sunday allowed all schools outside containment zones to resume functioning and directed authorities to ensure social distancing norms are followed. The government has also ordered the schools not to make physical attendance mandatory for students and said that students can only attend schools with prior permission from parents.
The Directorate of Education (DoE) has instructed schools to follow all Covid-19 guidelines.
A representative at Greenwood Public School said, "We are calling students in slots -- half of the students in a class will be in the classroom while the rest will be in laboratory to conduct practical lessons. We have sent out consent forms to all parents and the number of students willing to come to school is high."
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was an emotional moment to see children back in school.
"Seeing kids back in school after a long time, is an emotional moment for me. Schools have reopened today after leaving behind a very difficult time. We are hopeful that soon, everything will be normal and all students will be able to come to schools and meet their teachers and friends," he tweeted.
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Pragati Diwan, an excited class 12 student said, "It was optional to come but I was sure I have to. It is the last year of my school life and I haven't come to school even one day," said Pragati Diwan, an excited class 12 student.
For another student at Geeta Bal Bharti School, the feeling was similar to that of attending the first day at school.
"It does not feel like I am coming to school after ten months, it feels like I have come to school for the first time. I am looking forward to the preparations for board exams here," she said.
Prince, a student at Delhi government school, said, "The online classes were a great help for theoretical subjects but the practical subjects were a challenge. I am glad to be back at school so the practical concepts will be easily brushed up before the board exams".
According to Alka Kapur, Principal of Modern School in Shalimar Bagh, the safest way for students to commute to school would be via private vehicles of their parents and guardians. "There are a number of steps that the school authorities will take to ensure that the students stay safe from the infection," she added.
Allowing 15 students at a time in a classroom, placing handwashing consoles and sanitiser dispensers in corridors, deploying volunteers to ensure social distancing and conduct temperature checks, and keeping medical facilities on standby for any eventuality are some of the various initiatives planned by the city’s schools.
Schools are also working out plans to ensure students who choose not to come to campus, do not miss out on anything.
Priyanka Barara, Principal of MRG School in Rohini, said while the government has made optional for parents to send their wards to school, it is recommended that they come for better preparations for board exams.
Ashok Pandey, Director of Ahlcon International School, said not more than 10 students will be allowed in laboratories at a time.
The Union education ministry has already announced that board exams for classes 10 and 12 will be conducted from May 4 to June 10, even though the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is yet to release an examination date-sheet.
Over three lakh students have registered from the Delhi region for the Class 10 CBSE board exam, while over 2.5 lakh candidates have enrolled themselves for the class 12 exam.
The Delhi government has suggested that schools conducted pre-board exams for class 12 from March 20 to April 15 and for class 10 from April 1 to April 15.
Schools were closed in March last year before a nationwide lockdown was announced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
(With PTI inputs)
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