The initiative to hold classes for students from the pre-primary level to Class VII in government and aided schools in the open air has posed challenges with many children struggling around noon because of the heat.
The problem prompted parents to plead for shifting the classes to school.
At the Bagbazar Sarbojanin Puja ground in north Kolkata, where students from the pre-primary section of nine schools assembled, the classes had to be abandoned an hour after the start after a child threw up, apparently because of the heat.
Classes were being held on the marbled floor that did not have any shed.
The heat led to the suspension of classes as many students complained of uneasiness.
After Mallika Ari, 5, started throwing up and almost fainted, some of the guardians protested and said they wouldn’t allow their children to attend classes in the open.
Some of the guardians who work as attendants said they had to remain present on the ground to keep an eye on their children skipping duty and feared their employers would retrench them if they failed to report for work for days on end.
Open-air classes for students from the pre-primary level to Class VII in government and aided schools began on Monday across the state as part of the Paray Shikshalay initiative.
Mallika Ari threw up and almost fainted after being exposed to the sun for about 40 minutes at the open-air school in Bagbazar. Her mother carried her to a shade on the sidelines
Students of the pre-primary level and Classes I and II of schools under circle-II in Ward 7 of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation gathered at the Bagbazar Sarbojanin Puja ground at 10.30am.
Trouble began around 11.10am when Mallika, a student of Maharaja Cossimbazar Sabitri Shikshalaya, began throwing up after being exposed to the sun for about 40 minutes and almost fainted.
Mallika’s mother rushed in and took her daughter in her arms to comfort her.
Teachers came rushing and told the mother it could be a case of dehydration, caused by the heat, and advised her to take Mallika to a shaded place.
Classes being held at Goabagan CIT Park in Ward 16 of the KMC. Although the local councillor built a makeshift shed, the students complained of the sun as noon approached
The incident sparked panic among other guardians, who, too, began taking their children to the periphery of the ground in search of a shade and subsequently left for home.
By 11.30am, the entire open space had emptied out.
Discontent was brewing among guardians from the beginning as many sought to know from the Kolkata district primary school council chairman, Kartik Manna, why the classes could not be held in school.
Manna attended the opening ceremony at the Bagbazar ground. A guardian could be heard telling Manna that the physical distancing protocol was hardly being maintained on the ground and they would be relieved if the classes were held in classrooms.
The situation was marginally better at Goabagan CIT Park, where classes of schools in Ward 16 are being held. On Monday, classes were held in a corner of the park under a makeshift shed.
As noon approached, some of the students began coming under the glare of the sun.
“The heat troubled me,” said Kittu Yadav, a Class V student of Rani Bhabani School.