After staying closed for almost three months, schools in Haryana finally reopened on Friday. For now, to abide by the strict COVID-19 protocols, the school building is accessible to the students of classes nine to twelve only while students of the other standards are instructed to continue with their online classes.
Being able return to the school building after such a proponged wait has brought great joy to the studnds.
Since April, the educational institutes in the state were closed for physical teaching due to the surge of COVID-19 cases.
However, with coronavirus cases in the state recently showing a declining trend, the Haryana government last week announced reopening of schools for Classes 9 to 12, saying students will be allowed to rejoin physical classes only with written permissions from parents.
However, it has not made it mandatory for students to come to school as online classes are continuing, officials said.
Students of classes 6 to 8 will also be able to attend school from July 23 as the state government has decided to open the institutions in a phased manner, an official spokesperson had said earlier.
The students, meanwhile, said they were happy to be back in school.
“While in the pandemic, online education was being imparted, but there can be no substitute to physical classes. We are immensely happy to be back to our school where we can freely interact with our teachers, ask as many questions and clear our doubts. Besides, one feels happy to meet our friends after a long time," a Class 9 student told reporters at a government school in Sonipat.
Another student in Gurgaon said, "We are happy that schools have resumed. Individual attention is given in a physical classroom environment while online education has its limitations. Also, the internet connectivity is not good on occasions which causes problems while using mobile or desktop for long hours causes eye strain to many."
Many teachers also said they were happy to see their students back in school after a long time.
"Teaching in a physical classroom is always easy. Moreover, there are some subjects where students are able to comprehend better in a regular classroom environment... We hope the Covid situation improves as the past more than a year has been quite tough for students as well as teachers," a teacher of a Gurgaon school said.
Detailed guidelines and SOP have been issued by the state education department which the schools need to follow.
While school timings have been curtailed, only one student now is allowed to sit on a desk, and sharing food or stationery items is prohibited. A gap of at least six feet has to be maintained between two students, and desk will bear name tags of students where they have to sit, according to the guidelines.
Thermal scanning and hand sanitisation of students is to be done at the entrance of the school. Masks are to be checked, and provisions have to be made to provide one if a student is found not wearing a face cover, the officials said.
To ensure social distancing, schools will function only at 50 per cent student strength at a given time, and students will be called on rotation, they added.
(With PTI Inputs)