The Church of North India (CNI) has decided to resume in-person classes in its schools on Monday, citing “improvement in weather” and also underlining the importance of inculcating in students the “habit of attending school”.
The bishop of the Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India, Reverend Paritosh Canning, is the head of 15 schools, including the two La Martiniere schools, St James’ and Pratt Memorial.
The communication from the Bishop’s House to the school heads on Friday morning said the decision was taken in view of the “improvement in weather conditions”.
While speaking to The Telegraph, the bishop said students should get used to the habit of attending school.
“Students have lost out on the habit of attending school… Only when they attend school for at least a month, will they settle down, and after that will be able to focus on academics,” said Reverend Canning.
The bishop also iterated the importance of making good citizens. “We (schools) are making good citizens and if education is ignored... there will be a danger of the country falling behind,” he said.
The notice from the Bishop’s House said the bishop “is directing the Heads of Institutions of The Diocese of Calcutta, CNI (ICSE/ISC/DA getting and Private Schools) to reopen their respective Institutions from Monday, 20th June, 2022, and begin offline/in-person classes for the students of all the classes.”
The CNI schools under the Calcutta diocese sent notices to the parents during the day, conveying to them the decision of reopening the campuses for in-person classes from Monday (June 20).
“We have to understand that in the online mode, we cannot do as many classes as when we run physical classes,” said Terence Ireland, principal of St James’ School.
Two other private schools, Modern High School for Girls and The Future Foundation School, will also resume in-person classes on Monday. These two are not CNI institutions.
The decision to resume on-campus classes comes despite the state government's order extending summer vacation in schools, except the ones in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, till June 26 citing “heatwave conditions”.
Several other private schools have lined up meetings to discuss the possibility of an early resumption of physical classes.
But there was no such decision by government or government-aided schools till late on Friday evening.
On Friday, the monsoon was knocking at Calcutta’s door and the city was pleasant for most parts.
Bishop Canning said: "The weather has cooled down and the heatwave conditions that were mentioned (in the government order) are not there, so we have decided to reopen."
Private schools had to close early in May following a government order that asked them to suspend in-person classes. Schools that had kept the institutions open had received calls from government officials asking them to switch to online classes.
When the government order on extension of the summer vacation was issued on June 13, many private schools decided to switch to online classes to avoid being called up again by the government and told to comply with the directive.
An official at one private school said on Friday: "We have paid respect to the government decision by keeping the school closed when it was hot. With this decision (on resumption of in-person classes), we have asserted our right as a private school."
Like the church-run schools, Modern High, too, spoke of better weather. "The conditions will probably get worse and we have to learn to adapt," said Devi Kar, director of Modern High School for Girls.
"The parents were objecting to online classes and with the change in weather… it is difficult for us to remain closed,” said Ranjan Mitter, principal of The Future Foundation School.