Several city schools have decided to keep their institutions closed on Thursday fearing traffic disruptions because of Mamata Banerjee’s Martyrs’ Day rally in Esplanade on July 21.
Several heads said keeping schools open might result in children getting stuck in traffic while returning home.
St James’ School, Don Bosco Park Circus, Calcutta Girls’ High School, Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Delhi Public School Ruby Park and Garden High School are among the ones that have decided to suspend classes on July 21, Thursday, officials of the schools said.
Some of the schools have decided to remain open for classes on Saturday and at least one said they would conduct online classes on Thursday.
Even before the pandemic, classes in most schools would usually end early on July 21.
The schools were closed for in-person classes for most of the duration from March 2020 because of Covid, and the Trinamul Congress conducted its Martyrs’ Day programme virtually as gatherings were discouraged amid the pandemic.
“Students will be able to reach school in the morning but getting back in the afternoon will be tough for them that day,” said Terence Ireland, principal of St James’ School.
Trinamul processions from different parts of the city will converge at Esplanade. The rally officially begins at noon but Trinamul leaders said processions would head towards the venue from early morning.
Schools usually start giving off around 11.30am and dispersal of students continues till 3pm.
“We don’t want our children to face the brunt of the rallies,” said Father Bikas Mondal, principal, Don Bosco Park Circus.
Usually during dispersal there is a huge rush of buses, chartered cars and private vehicles. The vehicle count on the city’s roads increases many times that day as Trinamul supporters from across the city as well as districts arrive in buses and on trucks.
“Students come from far-off areas, so even if we announce a half-day there is a possibility that buses can get stuck,” said Anjana Saha, principal, Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
Her school has decided to have online classes on Thursday.
St James’ School and Calcutta Girls’ High School have decided to remain open for classes on Saturday.
The La Martiniere schools and South Point said they were yet to decide.