Private schools in Noida struggle for attendance as parents still wary of Covid-19 – education

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Private schools in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar are struggling to receive students of classes 9 to 12 back in classrooms as parents continue to feel unsafe to send their wards for physical classes because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Private schools recorded a mere 14 per cent attendance of students on Tuesday, while government and aided schools clocked 39 per cent in Noida and Greater Noida, according to government officials.

After a seven-month hiatus because of the pandemic, the state government had allowed reopening of schools for classes 9 to 12 from October 19, District Inspector Of Schools (DIOS) Neeraj Kumar Pandey said.

“Online classes are fine but they don’t have the gravity of a physical classroom. Once the time passes, it won’t be imaginable to get better the academic loss,” Pandey told PTI, adding that his concern was once mainly for students in Class 12 who would be facing qualifying examinations after school to receive into colleges.

He said more awareness and confidence building measures are required between private schools and parents and suggested that students could be called for no less than two-three days and busy in laboratory work. He also added that the rule for reducing the number of students in a class would supply an ideal student-teacher ratio, calling on parents to send their wards to schools again.

“I have inspected schools and found their preparations top class. They’re polite equipped and prepared for social distancing measures, and frequently sanitising their premises as per guidelines,” the higher school education officer said.

There are 153 schools in the district — 53 of them government and government-aided while the remaining self- financed — according to officials.

Noida-resident Shivarpit Katoch, whose son is a Class 11 student, said whether provided a choice now, he would prefer online mode of education for his ward.

“No doubt the schools are preparing for steady classroom studies and assuring adherence to social distancing guidelines, but It’s not that i am certain whether children will display the maturity of following the rules. Even though there are 16 or 20 students in a class, the risk (of contracting the infection) will be there,” Katoch told PTI.

Renu Singh, Principal of the Amity International School, Noida, said the response of parents so far has not been encouraging.

“Majority feels it’s not protected as of now,” Singh said.

She added that essential arrangements have been made as per preventive protocols and the school has adequate arrangement for sanitiser, hand wash, masks and also able with thermal scanners and oximeters at all entry points.

“Isolation room, in case required, has been prepared. Doctors will be there to attend to students, thermal checking records will be maintained. All guidelines received from the DIOS shall be followed,” Singh said.

She added that only half the number of students will be there in a class and seating plan leaving one seat vacant is worked out.

The Shiv Nadar School, which has branches in Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad, said 90 per cent of the parents of their students polled for continuing online classes.

“We conducted an online survey to evaluate the preference of parents between online and physical classes in October and November 2020,” a spokesperson for the school said.

“As per the result of the survey, an overwhelming majority of parents (90 per cent) at Shiv Nadar School Noida are in the favour of online mode of learning in October and November. For the reason that, a call has been taken by the management to continue with the online mode of learning till the end of November,” the spokesperson added.

On the other hand, the school said it was once monitoring the situation and the state government’s orders closely and will reach out to the parents towards the latter half of November to reassess their preference.

The Shriram Millennium School, which has branches in Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon, is continuing with online mode of classes, too.

In a communication sent out to parents earlier in October, Uttar Singh, the school’s principal and director, said the school regarded as the health of “Shri Parivar” above everything else and sought to have the feedback of parents to finalise the dates for reopening physical classes.

On the other hand, it had provided an option to students wanting physical classes or doubt-clearing sessions, but even so practical classes for science in addition to for some co-curricular activities.

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