Schools have become more flexible after two years of online classes and give students the option of attending classes from home against medical certificates.
One school has allowed students with Covid to attend classes from home and another one has allowed a student with a fracture on the leg to attend online lessons.
Before the pandemic, such flexibility was unheard of, one because there was no option and second because schools refused to bend their rules. But at least the head of one school said the institution has to be strict because there are occasions when parents try to take advantage of the situation and schools have to put their foot down.
“We have been allowing children with Covid (from classes VI to XII) to attend classes from home. With the increase in infections in July, we saw many children coming to school despite being unwell. Instead of attending classes, they ended up spending the day in the infirmary,” said Suvina Shunglu, principal of Sri Sri Academy.
As schools reopened for brief spells in the last two years several schools had made provision for blended learning when one group would attend from home and the other in classrooms.
That system is coming in handy now and students can get access to classrooms because the class is also being live streamed, teachers said. At Sri Sri Academy, the students who are in Class VI upwards are provided with the link to the classes.
For those in junior classes, the school still has an option of one section attending online classes every day. The students who are not well can join from home despite not being in that particular section.
“We have noticed is that with this system in place less number of students were turning up when they were unwell. We are continuing with this option of online lessons even in August,” said Shunglu.
Shri Shikshayatan School records all the classes and grants access to those children who have missed classes for genuine medical reasons.
The principal and the headmistress use their discretionary powers to decide, a school authority said.
But schools also have to be careful about the requests because parents can use them to their advantage also, teachers said. “We are allowing students only against medical documents,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School. Prasad said with this option available parents are also making unwarranted requests, which the school has to turn down.
“During the rainy season, when there is waterlogging they ask for online classes. We cannot allow that.” Some schools also conducted online classes last month during a rally fearing traffic disruptions in the city. “Digitisation is here to stay and so flexibility will also have to stay,” said Bratati Bhattacharyya, secretary general of Shri Shikshayatan School.
Sushila Birls Girls’ School said they have not exercised the option till now but are also open to it. “We are also a little wary of it because there are learning gaps. We want children in school for in-person classes. But we will weigh the consequences only if absolutely necessary and if there is a strong medical reason,” said principal Koeli Dey.