Parents are sending applications for school bus services following the resumption of in-person classes, the heads of several schools said.
The Telegraph reported on Friday that parents had difficulty arranging for transport to drop their children to school on Thursday, Day 1 of resumption of on-campus classes for students of classes VIII to XII.
The applications have come both from parents of students who had not enrolled for bus services in the pre-pandemic times as well as those who had withdrawn their children’s names from bus services over the past two years, when the campuses were shut as a precaution against Covid.
At least one school that had done away with the bus service in the last few months said they were “taking a fresh look at options” and communicating with transport operators following pleas from parents.
In one school, parents requested that Class XI students, too, be brought within the ambit of the bus service. Before the pandemic, the senior students were not covered by the service.
Several schools that resumed in-person classes on Thursday rolled out buses but many did not, forcing parents to arrange for their own transport or decide against sending their children to school.
“In the last two days, we received fresh applications for bus services from parents who had removed their names from the bus list and also those who did not enroll for it earlier. Parents are seeing the bus option as safer in the current times,” said Sunita Sen, principal of The BSS School.
Mahadevi Birla World Academy, which reduced its fleet of buses during the pandemic, has also been receiving applications from parents.
“There is a request from parents of students of Class XI to extend the service to them. Earlier, we did not have bus services for Classes XI and XII because senior students travelled on their own and many commuted by cabs or pool cars. But now… parents feel more assured if their children travel by school bus,” said Anjana Saha, principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School, said they had been receiving emails every day, since the announcement of resumption of in-person classes, requesting for the bus service.
“There are parents who do not own private transport and want to avail themselves of the school bus service,” said Prasad.
As schooling went into the online mode, many of them gave up bus services and the vehicles had been lying idle. Some of the schools sold the buses or released the vehicles hired from agencies.
Some of the buses, after remaining idle for so long, are no longer road-worthy.
Several schools are calling 50 per cent of the students on a given day and each student may have to attend in-person classes for three days a week.
“We are weighing options after receiving mails from parents. But the buses will run at 50 per cent seating capacity and a student might have to come twice or thrice a week. Operators have been telling us that the charges will be much higher under such circumstances,” said Suvina Shunglu, principal of Sri Sri Academy.