Attendance in most schools remained thin on the first day of school reopening as parents are still worried about the fear of covid-19 infection and safety measures and many were seemed in wait and watch mood.
“We did not force any child to come to school. The process is smooth and on the first day the focus to create a stress-free and safe atmosphere for children in schools amidst corona pandemic. Our monitoring teams have visited different schools and ensured that all SOPs are followed strictly,” said school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash. He visited several schools and monitored the arrangements in schools.
Over 10,000 high schools and nearly 1400 higher secondary schools in the state have got a different look on Friday. Circles were made every four to six metres at the entry gates where students were asked to stand and went through the thermal scanning. After taking their temperature, hands of the students were sanitized and they were allowed to proceed to the classrooms. Masks were mandatory on every one’s face.
“We understand the gravity of the situation and know how to behave responsibly as schools reopened to facilitate physical classes for us. It is our duty to keep ourselves as well as our teachers and family members safe,” said Anurag Patnaik, student of class XII of SAI International School.
As many as 25 students were allowed to sit in each section and one student was asked to sit in one bench or maximum two following safe distance between them. Students were not allowed to interact between each other nor did they allow having any physical interaction with their friends.
“Today’s class was totally different that we used to have during the pre-covid period. But I feel physical classes were much-needed at this point of time as online classes were not very satisfactory due to poor connectivity and network issues,” Abhijit Sahu, a class-XII student of MBS Public School, Bhubaneswar.
Principal of BJB Junior College Ranjan Kumar Bal said “Since the attendance was thin we did orientation of students on the first day and shared with them new lesson plans and discussed how to complete the courses in next 100days. From tomorrow full-fledged classroom teaching will resume.”
The schools had more than one recess to avoid over-crowding, students were asked not to share their tiffin and water bottles. Teachers were also maintained distance and did not have any physical contact with any student.
“Everything went smooth and on the first day we tried to make children accustomed with the new rules and SOPs. Though hostels have reopened but inmates have not come back yet. Of the 338 students in class X we have got 102 students on the first day,” said Sonamika Ray, headmaster of Capital High School here.
Though parents expressed their satisfaction over the safety arrangements and protocol followed but they also expressed concern. “After my child returned from school I feel a bit confident that they are safe in school with all the safety measures taken up by the school authorities. But the enforcement must be followed strictly in the next 100 days as well,” said Minakshi Biswal, a parent.
While the attendance of the students in the first day in the schools after reopening of the schools in a gap of about ten months on Friday was satisfactory in Ganjam district, thin attendance was reported in the schools run under the ST/SC development department schools in Gajapati district. Around 20 to 25 percent of 1100 students have been turned up to 19 schools run by the ST/SC development department in Gajapati district, sources said. ‘The students are remaining in the interior pockets. They may face problems on the first day. They are however gradually coming to the schools as well as hostels” said district welfare officer, Gajapati Basant Kumar Rath.