Three days to the resumption of on-campus classes, parents in the city have apprehensions and doubts about sending their children to school.
There are students who have a weak immune system, have breathing difficulties or those who have led a highly cloistered life during the last 19 months. Sending them to school would expose them to risk, said parents and teachers.
Parents have expressed some of their doubts and fears to teachers and schools.
⚫ If a teacher who takes five classes contracts Covid, will the school suspend all classes?
⚫ If a student on the fifth day returns home and tells the parent that the student sitting next to her has fever, what will the school do? Quarantine the entire class?
⚫ If a family member of the child gets Covid and the student has to be quarantined, will the child miss out on class? Or can she attend online lectures?
⚫ A student who is taking immunosuppressants regularly cannot be sent to school because that will increase her susceptibility to infection.
The government has given the go-ahead to schools to resume on-campus classes from November 16 for IX to XII, but the apprehension of parents is because this age group is not vaccinated.
A parent whose daughter has a weak immune system said that their doctor has advised that she should not be allowed in any public gathering.
“My daughter has a medical history and had to be hospitalised in 2016 and 2017 and is on an immunosuppressant. As a parent, I am not yet confident of sending her to school because her chances of catching the infection compared to other students is higher,” said the father of the Class IX student.
Several heads of schools said that while every other sector is gradually reopening, schools cannot be kept closed.
Parents argue that at any other place, a child is accompanied by an adult unlike in a school, when students will be entrusted to one or two teachers at a time.
“It is natural for parents to feel scared because the number of infections is fluctuating. Children are not inoculated and a chance to get the infection remains,” said Terence Ireland, the principal of St James’ School.
Ireland said that many children have breathing problems because of the air quality in and around the city.
“I don’t blame such parents for being more protective of their children,” he said.
Children getting the infection in several homes has also shaken the confidence of parents.
“If my daughter comes and tells me that a friend sitting next to her has not come to school because of fever, I would not know what to do,” said a father of two school-going girls.
“While parents still have a choice when it comes to sending their children to school, if the school decides to conduct an exam on campus, we become helpless,” said another parent.
Several parents said that the school should have a robust communication system with parents, which will build some confidence in parents.