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Reopening Safely

Private schools in Kolkata weigh options of reopening campuses

Institutions will send out consent forms to parents to understand how many are willing to send their children

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 01.02.22, 08:15 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

Shutterstock

A number of private schools said they would not rush into reopening campuses from the middle of this week, hinting that the reopening could be scheduled for next week following internal meetings over the next couple of days.

At least one school said starting in-person classes towards the end of the session can disrupt the routine of online classes that children and teachers have grown familiar with.

Even schools that plan to resume in-person classes will send out consent forms to parents to understand how many are willing to send their children to the campus.

Although the government has decided to allow reopening of schools for students of classes VIII to XII from February 3, a few institutions said they would reopen in phases after understanding how comfortable parents are with in-person classes.

St James’ School, Don Bosco Park Circus, St Xavier’s Collegiate School, The Heritage School, South Point, Birla High School for Boys and Lakshmipat Singhania Academy have called a meeting to finalise the date of reopening and the modalities.

Modern High School for Girls, The Heritage School and Indus Valley World School are planning to reopen this week.

La Martiniere for Girls and La Martiniere for Boys have decided not to make any changes in the schedule of rehearsal exams for students of classes X and XII. The exams will continue online, the heads of the two schools said.

“We cannot guarantee the number of students who will come to school, so we will have online exams. Also, exams have to be conducted in the same format for all. If it is held both online and offline, there will be a disparity in marks. For classes we will start with a hybrid system,” said John Stephen, acting principal of La Martiniere for Boys.

La Martiniere for Girls has decided, as of now, to call students of classes VIII, IX and XI with the consent of the parents.

“We cannot force anybody to send (his or her daughter). Once we receive the consent forms, we can prepare the slots and roster for reopening,” said Rupkatha Sarkar, principal of La Martiniere for Girls.

Schools like St Xavier’s Collegiate School, Loreto House and St James’ are planning to have pre-board exams on the campus.

“We will continue with online classes and do not want to disrupt the routine towards the end of the academic session. We want to prepare students for the board exams, which will be held in-person,” said Aruna Gomes, principal of Loreto House.

Father M. Thamacin Arulappan, principal of St Xavier's Collegiate School, said they would have to “plan out space” before calling the students of the five classes to the campus. “We will start off in phases,” he said.

The school will also conduct a camp to administer the second dose of Covid vaccine to students.

A section of parents is worried about sending their children to attend in-person classes before they are vaccinated. “My daughter is 13 and yet to be vaccinated. If I send her to school now, she will be vulnerable. Also, this is almost the end of the session. I think it will be better to start in-person classes from the next academic session,” said a father whose daughter is in Class VIII.

School heads said the concern of parents could not be ignored.

“For Class VIII students at least, we will have to discuss with parents before arriving at a decision,” said Terence Ireland, principal of St James’.

The director of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Meena Kak, said they would reopen in phases after parents are comfortable sending their children to school.

“There are teachers who have children or elderly parents at home and they will have to make arrangements for them before being on the campus,” said Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School.

Last updated on 01.02.22, 08:55 AM
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