Schools gear up for reopening, likely to put in place a schedule
With the Tamil Nadu government announcing the reopening of schools for senior classes from September 1, the schools will focus on putting a schedule in place this week to avoid overcrowding and to ensure adherence to the safety norms.
In the standard operating procedure released by the Directorate of Public Health, only 50% of the students have been asked to be present on campus at a time depending upon the strength, and based on further instructions from the Department of School Education, schools can either implement a shift system or have alternate working days.
“We are planning to have students on campus in a shift system — students of X and XII will have classes in the morning and students of 9 and 11 will have classes in the afternoon. We feel it would be better to have them come in regularly this way and ensure all safety norms are followed,” said G.J. Manohar, correspondent, MCC Higher Secondary School.
While schools which have sprawling campuses can accommodate more than 20 students at a time either on their grounds or in other open spaces, smaller campuses and classrooms will throw up challenges since students have to maintain physical distancing.
“Given all these challenges, we feel that it is best for students to start off in a staggered way — fisrt Classes X and XII on campus and then the other two classes once a system is in place. Schools with smaller classrooms should have enough faculty members to teach two sets of students,” said S. Arumainathan, president, Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare Association. Calling for detailed instructions to be issued for rural and urban schools, he said the School Education Department had to separately address the needs of these students, ranging from transport to infrastructure, to ensure compliance with the safety norms.
Lack of focus
Schools reopened briefly for students of Classes X and XII this January, and then for Classes IX and XI. “Since students then were coming back to school after nearly 10 months, we initially had to pay attention to their concentration and motivation. Many students found it hard to focus and were not serious about their exams,” a government school teacher said. “This time too, we will have to start with motivating and encouraging the students instead of immediately proceeding with lessons. The School Education Department has given a syllabus for a bridge course, which will be very helpful for the students since they have missed out on classes for months,” said A. Ramu, State president, Directly Recruited Post Graduate Teachers Association.
Several private schools are also planning to speak to the parents next week about the safety norms that will be enforced on campus.