Pune: CBSE, ICSE schools wary about Maha government decision to reopen primary schools

While most state board-affiliated schools seemed happy with the decision and are now gearing up to reopen, those under other boards are not very pleased with the timing of the decision since Term 1 of the board examinations for Classes X and XII are currently on for CBSE and ICSE students.

Although the Maharashtra government said primary schools from Class I onwards will reopen from December 1, the announcement evoked mixed reactions from principals and the various school management.

While most state board-affiliated schools seemed happy with the decision and are now gearing up to reopen, those under other boards are not very pleased with the timing of the decision since Term 1 of the board examinations for Classes X and XII are currently on for CBSE and ICSE students.

Rita Katawati, principal, Hutchings High School, said the school may not open until after the Christmas vacations. “Currently, Class XII’s term I examinations are on and that of Class X will begin soon and go on till after December 20th. Soon after, we will have our Christmas vacations. Due to Covid norms, we need more than 15 to 20 classrooms to accommodate one batch of students for the examinations since we have to follow social distancing. Hence it won’t be possible to reopen school for primary classes as of now since it will take a lot of planning,” she said.

A similar problem is being faced by CBSE schools where batch sizes of Class X and XII are higher.

Jayshree Venkatraman, principal of SNBP School, Rahatni, said primary students will be initially asked to attend school for co-curriculars. “I had planned to call younger students for some poetry, drama and sporting events. Since kids have stayed away from school for so long, we were planning it as an ice-breaker session and also to give them some normalcy. Now, the government has allowed us to begin classroom teaching but with the Term I examinations of Classes X and XII, it won’t be possible for us to do so by December. Instead, we will have these cultural activities and then plan to start primary school in a phased manner,” she said.

Principals also pointed out that since kids are younger and unvaccinated, the decision can only be taken after parents give their consent and on the percentage of parents who do so. Damini Joshi, principal, Sanskriti School, said since the announcement was made just a day ago, a parent-teacher meeting will be conducted in the coming days. “Post that, the consent forms will be shared with the parents and only then will we have an idea of how many parents are willing to send their kids to school,” she said.

Meanwhile, several SSC and non-state board schools are also gearing up to resume classes.

Manish Rastogi, CEO-Schools, VIBGYOR Group of Schools, said physical classes will resume at all Vibgyor campuses in Maharashtra for Classes I to VII in compliance with government guidelines.

“Students will be permitted to attend classes only if the same is authorised in writing by their parents. All students coming to school will be required to wear face masks and those with Covid-infected family members will be advised to continue studying from home. The entire campus, including laboratories, corridors and stairs, are being disinfected and signages have been put up to facilitate adherence to social distancing norms. Campus personnel will be required to wear face masks in the school premises and regular temperature checks will be conducted for students and staff. We will continue to conduct online classes for students who do not prefer to attend physical classes,” said Rastogi.

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