Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision that schools can reopen for in-person classes from November 16 has left the parents of many students worried.
The parents are worried about the safety of the children who will attend classes on campus at a time when Covid cases are rising again in Bengal.
The parents of a large number of students who will appear in board exams in schools are also anxious. The CBSE and the ICSE council have announced that the semester 1 board exams will be conducted on the campuses.
A number of school heads said the anxiety of the parents was understandable because children are not vaccinated against Covid.
Many parents have expressed their apprehensions to the school heads or teachers about on-site board examinations through emails and letters.
On Monday, a section of parents of La Martiniere for Boys students who will appear for ISC gave a letter to the acting principal, with the request that it be forwarded to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), expressing the fear that their wards might get infected with the coronavirus while appearing for the semester 1 tests.
“We will forward the letter to the council,” said John Stephen, acting principal, La Martiniere for Boys.
“We are scared to risk our child's life, and other family members since most of us live in joint families with both elderly and small children included. The fear of other students even being asymptomatic carriers will also not allow students to write their exams in peaceful mental capacity,” reads the letter, signed by about 80 parents.
The letter states that the children are “unvaccinated” and “exposing them to a life-threatening virus is unacceptable”.
At Delhi Public School New Town, Julien Day School Ganganagar and Indus Valley World School, parents have expressed similar fears to the school authorities through email or over the phone.
Parents said the exams would expose their children to the virus, which they had so far succeeded in avoiding.
A parent whose daughter will appear in the ISC exams said he was not sure how seriously the families of other students followed the Covid protocols at home.
“The parents’ fears are legitimate and have been escalating because of the rising Covid numbers. As a school, we have enormous responsibilities towards our students, teachers and staff,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.
Now with the state government giving the go-ahead to reopen schools for in-person classes, the concern among parents has extended to the transport they will be using.
“Parents are also concerned about using public transport to commute to school for on-campus classes. They are scared that it would expose the children to the risk and not everyone can afford a personal vehicle,” said Bobby Baxter, principal of Julien Day School Ganganagar.