Covid is not over and one cannot let their guard down, teachers are telling students continuously as schools reopen for in-person classes in the new session.
There is a tendency among students, especially those in senior classes, to pull their masks down or carry them in their pockets and hug each other, as if the pandemic is over, said teachers in several schools.
Distance cannot be maintained when the whole class is back on campus but schools are insisting that students wear masks, use sanitisers and follow hygiene.
The heat, however, is making it difficult for girls and boys to keep their masks on for long hours.
In one institution, some students came without masks. They were hauled up and given masks to wear.
At another school, the students took off their masks during class. The teacher had to pause her lesson to ask them to put back their masks.
“What concerns me is that Covid is not over. Yet, given a chance, the boys are taking off their masks. We are having to continuously instruct and monitor students. We are telling them that many countries are still fighting Covid,” said Terence Ireland, principal of St James’ School, which resumed classes on Monday.
Ireland said that there was a tendency amongst boys to put an arm around a friend’s shoulder. Teachers are having to keep an eye on this.
When schools had reopened in November and students had turned up to appear in board exams, they were not this “relaxed” about protocol.
“There was more adherence to Covid protocol, much of which has slackened now. It is happening perhaps because of the weather, low case numbers and also many of them are vaccinated,” said a teacher.
In parent-teacher meetings in school, many parents come without masks. It is natural for students to follow suit when parents have let their guard down, a teacher said.
“There is a need to be vigilant and make students follow Covid protocol and yet we have to bring back the feeling of normalcy to let students experience the joy of school,” said Rodney Borneo, principal, St Augustine’s Day School, Shyamnagar.
But students are on campus among friends after a long time and while it is possible to keep an eye on them on campus, outside the gates it is not.
“We told students that they will have to keep wearing masks and adhere to the protocol set by the school,” said Aruna Gomes, principal of Loreto House.