mumbai schools reopening: Mumbai: Students stirring out of bubble with a smile but parents wary

MUMBAI: When Aryan Arole first heard that his school might finally reopen, he was the first to take off his uniform, closed for eighteen months. “I can’t wait to meet my friends and teachers, play football and eat from the cafeteria. The thought of boarding my school bus sounds exciting too!” Dr. Pillai, a class X student of Global Academy says. except for one problem. At the time of school closure in March last year, the 13-year-old’s uniform no longer fits the 15-year-old’s uniform. This has given rise to another puzzle. “I’ve grown a few inches taller and suddenly everything’s shorter. I hope school allows contingency for the rest of the year.”

While kids like Aryan are ready to step out of their pandemic bunker with a brave smile and a brand new backpack, many parents are not. As families prepare for in-person learning for classes 8 to 12 starting Monday, run-of-the-mill concerns have been blown away by new concerns that parents of students – from preschool to high school – More worried than usual.


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While few are prepared to handle the transition to a more stable, interactive learning environment for their child stuck in a screen for more than a year, chances are they’ll be stuck while sharing a school bus or being very close to their classmates. The child may be infected. Gatherings, games and lunch time are challenges that pandemic-conscious parents are finding it difficult to turn their backs.

“I am not hot about the return, especially because there has been an increase in cases among children. And there is still no definite vaccination plan for minors,” says Ashish Banerjee, father of the boy of Class IX from Pedder Road.

Even as schools scramble to find ways to help distance learners re-acclimate to physical classes with SOPs, how children will be seated, shepherded or taken in by in-person and online classes. As will be taught through the hybrid model, braking on a child’s impulses can be a task. “It may be more difficult during lunch and toilet breaks for children to follow an orderly route to and from the classroom, canteen or washroom,” Banerjee worries.

Sutapa Bhagat, EuroKids coordinator and mother of a Class VIII child, is worried about children playing hookah to make up for the days lost in the lockdown. “One batch at school and the other at home, wouldn’t it be a challenge to maintain two attendance registers? What if some kids naughty decide to drop out of school. Parents can think they’re in class and teachers can believe they’re at home!” She wonders how the start times and rotational routines will throw working parents out of gear. .

Another hurdle for parents is the health care protocol for children who test positive for COVID. “There is no talk about whether there will be a special helpline for cases or whether schools should have proper hospitals,” says Banerjee.

A decision on whether to reopen schools for junior classes will come after the festive season, but concerns are to several degrees high among parents of primary school children – especially those making the more difficult transition to school for the first time. are.

Jimit Shah, whose eldest started primary school in 2019, is worried about how his son will cope in the classroom environment. “Even though he is in class 2, he has gone to online school only. We as parents have always been at home to help when he could not keep pace.” Amrita Roy who is every online schooler with her 10-year-old class, she wasn’t sure how much instruction her daughter would take from the teacher. “I hope the teacher slows the kids down to adjust,” she says.

Pratham Education Foundation, an NGO that works with schools across India, is running a readiness campaign for young children and parents in 10,000 villages and urban communities across India to help primary children get ready for formal schooling. To help mothers with bridging exercises. “Children from rural areas or low-income urban households, who have not been through any formal education or online access, are now in class one or two,” says Pratham CEO Rukmini Banerjee. School formally opened. “To reduce fear and plan infection and safety measures more effectively.”

To understand the concerns of withdrawal among pre- and primary school students stakeholders, the Early Childhood Association (ECA) and the Association of Primary Education and Research conducted a survey of 500 parents, which found that many disagreed. What would be the safest way. If fathers were more open to dealing with risks, mothers were concerned about an impending ‘third wave’ and a lack of pediatric COVID care facilities.

“It is essential that we help parents and teachers acknowledge their concern and help them talk about it. Children have mirror neurons and if the two most important stakeholders in their care are concerned, They will also feel stressed. This in turn will affect their ability to remember rules. It will also affect their immune system,” said ECA President Swati Popat Vats.

Whether or not they rely on school to keep their kids safe, many parents who couldn’t wait to send their kids back to class are now willing to wait and see. “Just last week two children of my daughter’s age living in our building started showing symptoms of Covid. We haven’t come out of this pandemic yet, so why is this knee-jerk reaction halfway through the academic year?” Shyam Hari, the sailor father of a class VIII girl, asked the school, refusing to give his consent.

But despite such controversies, parents like Aryan realize that virtual learning and ad-hoc arrangements are no substitute for the classroom experience. “Especially when they are losing the last few precious days of school. I am confident that the institute will take adequate care and my son will go back to follow the precautions for him which is usually the most memorable phase in one’s life,” says his father Sagar Arole.

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