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Delhi schools to reopen from Monday, parents still hesitant

Delhi government school

New Delhi, Jan 18 (UITV/IANS) After being closed for nearly 10 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools in Delhi are set to reopen from Monday for students of Classes 10 and 12. However, parents are still in a quandary whether to allow their wards to attend.

The Delhi government has decided to reopen schools, shut since the first 21 day nationwide lockdown was imposed in March, 2020, in the view of the upcoming CBSE board exams.

Schools that reopen will have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, including social distancing, compulsory mask wearing and sanitisation and others.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a tweet on Sunday, said: "Had a review meeting with senior Education Dept officials. Everyone is excited and a little nervous at having Class 10& 12 students back in schools from tmrw for practical/counselling. All preparations-sanitizers, masks, social distancing measures- are in place. Good luck to all!"

The Directorate of Education has made it clear that students can come to school only if their parents allow it, and the school administration cannot compel physical attendance of their students.

However, parents spoke to IANS were not sure if they would send their children to schools from Monday onwards.

"It's not only me but most parents have made a unanimous consent not to send their children to school in this situation. As we all are aware that Covid-19 is still with us and our children can get affected. I can't say all parents have the same thought but, yes, all are concerned about safety of their children," said the mother of a Class 12 student in the Andhra Education Society School, ITO.

Sources told IANS that the schools administrations in Delhi have sought parents' consent through an 'NOC for offline classes'.

A letter issued by Preet Public School in Preet Vihar read: "As per the order of Delhi government, the school may start the offline classes for practical, doubt session, assignment activities related to CBSE examination 2021. The school will follow the SOP guidelines in respect of Covid-19 issued by MHA, Govt. of India."

In the letter, parents have been asked to submit their consent in writing. Parents have to ensure that their children will wear face masks, carry hand sanitiser and maintain social distancing. Parents also have to ensure that there is no history of Covid-19 infection in their families.

"It has been over a week since we (parents) have been debating whether to send our children to school or not. See, practical classes are very important in view of exams preparation. If I talk about my own daughter, who is in Class 10, she has completed almost all the syllabus but practical classes are also important. I know, it is about the future of my daughter but, I would wait at least one week to see if school is fully safe from Covid-19," said a mother of a Preet Public School student.

The Directorate of Education had earlier made it clear that physical attendance is not compulsory and students will attend schools only with the consent of parents. It had also said that only schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to reopen and teachers and school staff living in such areas will not be allowed to attend schools.

Schools have also been directed not to hold assemblies and physical outdoor activities.