Schools across Delhi-NCR have sprung into action following a spike in Covid cases and are taking various measures, including frequent sanitisation, to restrict the spread of the virus to a minimum and thus avoid the shutdown of the campus.
The other measures being taken by the schools include closing a particular classroom when someone tests positive and advising parents to not send their kids without masks.
However, all of them maintain that closing schools further is not a solution.
According to Shubhi Soni, Head, The Shri Ram Wonder Years, Rohini, coronavirus will never go but the hysteria around it will end. “It will be reduced to an endemic, influenza and seasonal flu in the coming years. The government’s decision to make mask-wearing optional in public places is the reason behind the current spike in Covid cases.”
“We must not wait for the situation to get worse and strict protocols should be enforced in full swing without any delay to control the situation,” Soni said. She said the parent community will panic if their child’s health is affected.”
The move, in such a scenario, should be to allow a blended approach to learning that is, starting three days of offline schooling and two days of online schooling in a staggered way.
“School closures, in any way, are not the solution as the students have backtracked in learning and it has taken a huge toll on their social and emotional well-being,” she said.
The number of school students testing positive has been on the rise in the city, raising concerns among parents. The Delhi government has told school authorities to close specific wings or classrooms wherever needed.
Anshu Mital, Principal, MRG School, Rohini said they are taking all the necessary measures to avert the spread of COVID-19 like constant cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, practising physical distancing, undertaking staggered dispersals, and using open spaces for activities.
“Maintaining a strict vigil to ensure the good health of students and staff administration is our top priority. The wellness staff headed by a counsellor is always available to address the concerns of parents and look after the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the learners.”
“We, as responsible citizens, must ascertain the veracity of news and only believe in facts. We must not fall prey to fake information as it infuses fear among the stakeholders and generally, the society. As an educator, I hope that there are no school closures and we are able to impart continuous and qualitative learning to our students,” she said.
The Shri Ram Millenium School in Noida has decided that in case three students in a section test Covid positive in quick succession, the section will switch to online classes.
“In case a student or teacher tests positive and has been in school, information is sent to the class group. If the child uses the bus, information is also sent to the bus users of the route availed by that student. For car pool students, the information is sent to the group concerned. Please be informed that information is shared only when the school has received a confirmed diagnosis and lab report of a student or teacher testing positive,” the school said in an advisory.
“In case a student or staff tests positive, he or she must not attend school and join back only after recovery. A negative RTPCR report has to be submitted to school before they rejoin.
“In case the student has a sibling in school, the sibling is also required to abstain from the school for a week till the student recovers. If a family member tests positive, then too the child or staff member must maintain a quarantine of seven working days,” it added.
According to Alka Kapur, principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh said closing the entire school is no longer an option. “Until now the situation is not very alarming and we are taking all the possible precautions to avoid another phase of closures. But, if the government takes any such decision, we shall have to respond to it positively.”
“All the students and entire staff must wear face masks and follow regulations given by the schools and government. We should encourage them for regular washing of hands and there must be at least one bottle of sanitiser in the bag of every students. With all these precautions, we can circumvent the potential threats,” she said.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said coronavirus cases may have been rising in the capital, but there is no need to worry as hospitalisation is low. Reports of infections from schools have triggered concerns weeks after they opened for completely offline classes following a two-year gap due to the pandemic.
The fresh infections in private schools in the capital have been reported close on the heels of schools in adjoining Noida and Ghaziabad reporting new cases of the disease. Coronavirus cases and the positivity rate in Delhi have seen an upward trend over the last few days. Delhi on Saturday recorded nearly 26 per cent jump in the number of COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with a positivity rate of 5.33 per cent.
Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NPSC), which has over 120 Delhi schools as its members, said closing the entire school is no longer an option. “Event experts advise against it. Cordoning-off specific areas for sanitisation is a better option,” she said.