Patna was in the grip of a heat wave on Sunday for the first time since the onset of summer.
The maximum temperature stood at 41.9°C, five degrees above normal, a perfect setting for heat wave conditions. “When the maximum temperature remains five degrees Celsius above normal, it calls for a heat wave condition,” India Meteorological Department, Bihar, director Ashish Sen said.
Keeping the unbearable heat in mind, most city schools would start and finish early from Monday. According to an order passed by district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar on Sunday, all government schools up to Class VIII would have morning classes from 6.30 and should be over by 11.30am. The private schools, too, should call it a day by 11.30am.
The decision to advance the morning timings appear to be sensible given the fact that weathermen have predicted dry and hot conditions for Patna in the coming four days.
“The weather is going to be more or less similar at least till Thursday as there is no incursion of moisture and its possibility is negligible because no system is visible in the Bay of Bengal,” said director Sen.
However, the Met department had something good to offer as well.
“Parts of south and central Bihar, including Patna, may witness cloud cover and a few places can also receive rainfall,” Sen said.
At present, the schools are leaving nothing to chance and have tweaked their timings so that students don’t feel the heat. Sister Lucina, the principal of St Joseph’s Convent High School, said: “It is getting hotter each passing day and therefore we have changed the school timing. It would now start at 7am and would be over by 11.30am.”
The junior section of St Dominic Savio’s High School would start at 6.30am and finish at 11am, while the senior section would continue till 11.30am instead of an hour extra put in during the winters on an average.
However, Loyola High School would do the necessary timing change from Wednesday. Brother Satish, the principal of the school, said: “We would start at 6.20am and finish by 12noon.”
A source in DPS-Patna said they were waiting for the district administration directive to change the timing. “If an instruction is issued regarding change in timing, we would conduct classes which are very important,” said a school insider.
Don Bosco Academy principal Mary Alphonsa said: “From Monday, the senior wing would start at 6.20am and it would get over by 11.50am. The timing of the junior wing has already been changed since last week. It now starts at 7am and gets over at 11am.”
Baldwin Academy, too, would start at 6.30am and get over at 11.30am from Monday.
However, institutions such as Christ Church Diocesan School, Litera Valley School and a few others do not intend to reconsider the timings at present.
Sumit Dixit, whose son studies in Class VII at a reputable city school, wonders why the timings have not changed. “It gets unbearable around 12noon. The school should change the timing but I don’t know why it has not been done till now.”
Minority schools would soon have a meeting to finalise the dates for summer vacations.