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April sizzles as mercury runs riot

- Change in timings to beat the heat

Bhubaneswar, April 25: Mercury is on a hot pursuit to break every record that comes its way and the worst victims of its free run are school students.

To provide relief to the little ones from the extreme heat conditions in the state, schools — both government and private — have been asked to reschedule their timings.

Morning classes have started from April 2 following an order issued by the school and mass education department. To beat the heat, classes in most schools start from 6am and is over by10.30am, so that students can reach home before the mercury begins to peak. This has led to the omission of certain subjects from the school timetable.

“We are giving priority to major subjects such as mathematics, science and English. Periods for library, sports, yoga, art and music have been left out for the moment,” said Debendra Kumar Pati, a senior teacher of DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur.

“Until last year, the morning classes extended up to 11am, but this time we have reduced it to 10.30am,’’ said school and mass education secretary Usha Padhee.

Apart from tweaking the timings, schools have been directed to make drinking water and oral re-hydration salt available for the students.

However, not all are happy with the summer timings. Schools such as SAI International rued that imposing morning school by the government had disturbed their course curriculum.

“Our school has a centrally air-conditioning system. There is no reason to impose morning timings on us,” said school principal Harish Sanduja. The school had even written to the state government for special consideration, but the request was rejected.

As part of awareness programme for students, the school, however, is organising a “water melon competition” for its students so that they would be inspired to take more fruits and stay healthy during summer.

A teacher at Mothers Public School said: “The CBSE curriculum is activity-based and with the morning classes it would be difficult to cover the courses on time. But we are also concerned about the wel-being of our students,’’ said school principal Polly.

Special relief commissioner and health secretary Pradipta Mohapatra said: “All the departments, especially school and mass education department, were asked well in advance to take special measures for heatwave like condition.’’

“The chief secretary will review the situation tomorrow about the preparedness,’’ he said.

Summer diet

For school students, the summer season, especially the prevailing heatwave, is always a challenge. Their breakfast, tiffin and water bottles should be packed with summer-friendly diet.

Dietician with city-based Aditya Care Hospital Guruprasad Das said: “Usually the breakfast spread should have slightly cold milk with cornflakes and banana. Tiffin should ideally consist of boiled or less oily upma and pudina chutney. The water bottles should be filled with ORS water, energy drink like glucose or juices.’’

The nutritionist also added that school students should be asked by their teachers to take more fruits, salads, freshly prepared curd and drink plenty of water to keep them cool during summer. They should also be encouraged to consume less oily and boiled food than the fried ones.

What schools are doing

Tweaking schedules: All state government-run and private schools asked to close by 10.30am. Schools have are now starting classes as early as 6am

Suspending outdoor activity: All private schools have struck off the games period from the timetable. Sai International allows students to attend swimming classes only after school hours

Planning to start indoor games: Students at KIIT International and Sai International are allowed to play indoor games such as table tennis, billiards, carrom and chess only after school hours. KIIT International is planning to start swimming classes for kids

Advising how to beat the heat: Awareness programmes have been organised by teachers at Mothers Public School and Xavier Group of Schools. Teachers in DAV Public School, Chandra-shekharpur, and Pokhari-put have been advising students on how to handle sunstroke victims during morning Assembly

Discouraging students from stepping out: DPS Kalinga the DAV Group of Institutions have been keeping the students indoors during school breaks

Pictures by Ashwinee Pati