Coronavirus: Delhi schools will remain shut till October 5
All schools in Delhi will remain closed till October 5 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate of Education (DoE) said on Friday, adding that online classes shall continue till the aforementioned date. The order of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government comes when schools were readying themselves to open their gates for senior students from Monday, September 21, following the Centre's guidelines.
On March 16, schools and colleges across India were shut, days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a complete lockdown to curtail coronavirus transmission. Now months later, when relaxations were announced to help a deeply affected economy, educational institutions remained closed. All lessons shifted online and examinations were also postponed. Meanwhile, this month, the Centre framed guidelines for reopening the schools.
As per the extensive guidelines of the Ministry of Health, only students between Classes 9 and 12 were permitted to attend physical classes in schools, falling outside containment zones. Students were asked by the Centre to get written consent from parents before attending classes. The government also prohibited students from sharing water bottles, stationery, and said schools will not hold activities like morning assembly.
Asking schools to ensure social distancing, check temperatures of students/staff, promote hand hygiene, and disinfect labs regularly, the Centre also said that the nearest medical facilities must be informed immediately if anyone shows symptoms of the disease. Older employees, pregnant staff, and those having underlying medical conditions should not be exposed to the frontline, the Centre added.
Despite the Centre's permission, the Delhi government doesn't want schools to resume operations from Monday. "All government and private schools will remain closed for all students until October 5. However, online teaching and learning activities will continue as usual," the order read. The AAP-led government asked principals to call "staff as per requirement for smooth conduct of online classes or any other work."
In the order, the Delhi government asked state-run schools to handle reins of online classes, that were so far being conducted by DoE. "In order to further strengthen and expand the Teaching-Learning Activities for classes 9 to 12, online classes are being decentralized for these classes of all the government and government-aided schools," the order read.
Before the latest order came in, schools had already started preparations to resume operations in a truncated manner. The Indian School's Principal Tania Joshi told Indian Express that they circulated a tailored consent form to understand how many parents are willing to send their wards to schools. Another Principal Jyoti Bose said most parents were petrified looking at the number of daily cases.
"Classes are going excellently online, students are having their doubts cleared by teachers on Microsoft Teams. So it's for parents to decide whether they feel it's necessary to be physically present in school. We will prepare accordingly," Bose, who heads Dhaula Kuan's Springdales School, said.
Worryingly, the spurt in coronavirus cases in National Capital has sparked concerns of a "second wave." At the time of the press, Delhi had logged 234,701 total cases and 4,877 deaths. On Thursday, 4,432 fresh coronavirus cases and 38 deaths were recorded. Earlier, Health Minister Satyender Jain warned against calling the sudden spike a "second wave," adding that coronavirus never left Delhi.