West Bengal schools reopen: Physical classes for classes 9-12 commences after 20 months
Kolkata, Nov 16: The schools for classes 9-12 have been reopened with Covid-19 measures in place in West Bengal amid joy among pupils and teachers and trepidation among a section of parents.
The students queuing up at school gates across West Bengal were a common sight since morning. The government has directed the schools to hold classes in different timings for secondary and higher secondary sections. This segregation was undertaken to minimise mingling to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Students were welcomed with chocolates, their temperature being checked and their hands being sanitised at the entrance at many schools. "I'm extremely happy to see the children back. We had been waiting for them. We're really appreciating this decision taken by the state government. We'll try our best to keep the environment healthy - both education wise & health-wise," Utpal Dutta, headmaster, Siliguri Boys High School, is quoted as saying by ANI.
However, the classes for 1-8 will continue in the online mode for the time being although the state government has plans to gradually bring all pupils back to the classrooms.
Education Minister Bratya Basu has said that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and the parents should take a call on whether or not to send their kids to school.
Some parents, though happy over the reopening of schools for physical classes, expressed apprehension whether their children will adhere to the guidelines for COVID safety since the students will be seeing each other after a very long time.
Educational institutions in the state were shut for physical classes in March, 2020 after the central government imposed a countrywide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Though the lockdown was later lifted, schools and colleges continued to remain closed in the state owing to the pandemic situation.
"I am thrilled to be back in school after such a long time, interacting online can never be as good as talking to friends and teachers face to face," said Sohini Mukherjee, student of a private school in south Kolkata.
Students have been asked not to share their tiffin and to adhere to social distancing norms. With inputs from agencies