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Reopening Safely

Outgrown uniform says it all for students in Kolkata schools

Attendance varies across schools, parents unable to arrange transport for children

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 04.02.22, 07:47 AM
Students of The Heritage School sing their school prayer at the auditorium on Thursday, Day 1 of resumption of in-person classes.

Students of The Heritage School sing their school prayer at the auditorium on Thursday, Day 1 of resumption of in-person classes.

Picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

The turnout was varied across schools on Thursday, Day 1 of resumption of in-person classes for students of classes VIII to XII. 

There was also a host of teething problems spawned by the long closure of the schools, necessitated by periodic surges in Covid infections. 

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The Telegraph takes stock of the situation after speaking to students, parents and school heads.

Attendance: The attendance in at least two schools was 50 per cent or less. In The Heritage School, about 80 of the 210 students in Class VIII turned up.

In Indus Valley World School, 68 of the 114 students in classes XI and XII were present. Around 40 per cent of the Class IX and 50 per cent of the Class XI students turned up in Calcutta Girls’ High School.

At South Point, about 80 per cent of the students in Class IX and 90 per cent of the students in Class XI turned up.

In Hindu School, a government-run institution, the attendance was 94 per cent. In Sakhawat Memorial Government Girls High School, it was 80 per cent. 

Transport: Classes have resumed but not all schools have rolled out buses, a challenge for parents, many of whom have gone back to work and could not make arrangements to send their children to school.

While the schools were closed, some parents withdrew their children from the bus service and a few institutions have discontinued the service.

Parents are yet to make arrangements for pool cars. Many of those who ran pool cars before the pandemic have since changed trades.

“We were told that the parents of a sizeable percentage of students who did not turn up failed to arrange for transport. Parents have gone back to work and it is difficult for them to drop their children to school,” said John Bagul, principal of South City International School.

Uniform: Students have grown taller by 3 to 4 inches in the last two years and many of them do not fit into their old uniform. In several schools, students did not turn up in uniform.

“We are allowing them because we understand that they have outgrown their uniform. We have to give them time to buy a new set,” said Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School. 

“Some of the students told their teachers that they would have to buy uniform. We are being flexible,” said Sonali Sen, principal of Delhi Public School New Town.

Not in town: Several heads said they have received emails from parents that they are out of town or even country and need time to return.

The schools opened on such short notice, said Basanti Biswas, principal of Calcutta Girls’ High School.

“We have to give them time to return to the city. Hopefully, we will have better attendance next week,” she said.

Last updated on 04.02.22, 08:45 AM
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