Tamil Nadu School Reopening: Tamil Nadu: Schools are not ready to reopen
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MADURAI / TRICHY: Even though the center, with parental consent and an SOP for the safety of Covid-19, allowed the partial reopening of schools for grades IX to XII from September 21, a majority of state and private schools in Madurai did and Trichy are not yet ready to begin classes on their campus.

At the same time, some schools, especially those that don’t offer regular online classes, are preparing for a partial reopening as a desperate measure as a first step towards normalcy. Many schools in Trichy City find it positive that it would help slow learners clear their doubts in the classrooms. The schools are preparing for the basic requirements for admitting students and are also waiting for the state government’s response.

Mala Sivakumar, headmistress of Kamala Niketan CBSE School, said that we will continue to integrate online and offline classes when the schools reopen. The school is still undecided about continuing with offline classes as it will be very difficult to have regular classes with standard operating instructions, she said.

For state schools that lack online tuition, teachers said that such partial reopening would be the only way for their students to slowly return to learning. However, school principals said that in order to run courses, state education officials should first establish the safety rules for Covid-19 and ensure the distribution of appropriate masks and disinfectants. “Students can be trained right from the start to follow the Covid-19 safety protocol,” said the headmaster of a state upper secondary school.

Meanwhile, private school teachers said more than 90% of parents were unwilling to let their child return to school now. “It is difficult, even for high school students, to enforce a strict protocol on hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks. Even if a student tests positive for Covid-19, there would be a big uproar. We cannot take any chances immediately if the cases of Covid-19 are still increasing, ”said the headmaster of a private school in Madurai.

“We have evolved from blackboards to intelligent classrooms. I also hope in post-Covid 19 times that the classrooms will be clean and hygienic with plenty of space for students. But from now on, safety is an issue and maybe we can wait at least two more months, ”said Ramya R, a parent. On the other hand, students also worry about wearing face masks and using the usual toilets longer than normal.

Private schools and some assisted schools prefer online classes over physical classes. “Not all schools have a suitable infrastructure such as additional classrooms, halls or open spaces in which the students can be distributed. Depending on the size of the school and the strength of the students, a shift system could be introduced. Even then, it can’t be two shifts a day, but classes on alternating days or once every two days in order to have enough time for disinfection, ”said Senthilnathan M, President, Association of Correspondents of Private Schools.

Padma Srinivasan, president of the Rockcity Sahodaya School Complex, said they have formulated several plans within the school to keep students safe. She said commutation is another problem as students have to travel from different locations to get to school. We are also waiting for the state government’s response to reopen schools, she added.

Usha Raghavan, headmistress of Amritha Vidyalayam CBSE School, Trichy, said reopening schools is imperative as students have not been in contact with writing for the past few months. Students who learn slowly at the beginning or who have doubts about subjects such as mathematics and other science subjects in classes X or XII may be admitted to classrooms. She said the school is also looking into the possibility of teaching under trees as the campus has good green cover.

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