Splitting sections, different timings for classes: Delhi govt schools doubling up as sites for other activities work around space constraints

Students of classes X and XII have begun attending regular classes since August 16 and school authorities said that since they have been having around 80% attendance every day, they have moved teaching-learning for these two grades completely offline.

Managing logistics of split sections and juggling both online and offline learning is challenging enough, but government schools functioning as various centres find that they need to work around several other constraints.

Government Co-ed Sarvodaya Vidyalaya Rohini Sector 21 was a prime example of that on Wednesday, the first day of schools reopening for senior classes in the capital.

The ground floor of its primary wing is functioning as a vaccination centre, with three sites, which sees around 450 people coming in for their shots every day. In a classroom on the ground floor of another wing, a handful of children were writing their compartment examinations since it is also functioning as a CBSE exam centre. Upstairs, students were spread across classrooms attending their offline classes.

The popular school has a total student strength of over 3,500 and has nine sections in class XI itself. To accommodate just classes IX and XI after splitting all sections into two to maintain 50% capacity in classrooms, the school needs to use 34 classrooms.

Students of classes X and XII have begun attending regular classes since August 16 and school authorities said that since they have been having around 80% attendance every day, they have moved teaching-learning for these two grades completely offline. It now hopes for a similarly positive response from classes IX and XI so that these can be moved mostly offline as well.

Said principal Sukhbir Singh Yadav, “Since we can’t accommodate more than two grades per day, we will be calling X and XII, and IX and XI on alternate days for three hours of classes with staggered timings. For instance, class IX will come in at 8 am and class XI at 9 am. Since the vaccination centre starts operating at 10 am, and people start coming in by 9.30 am, there shouldn’t be any overlap in the movements of students and these people.”

At a neighbouring government school, there are even fewer classrooms available since 22 rooms on the first two floors have been allotted as accommodation for paramilitary forces. That leaves just 24 rooms for classes.

The school has decided to split each section into three and call one-third of each section every day. That means a student will be attending school twice a week. This also means that teachers will be repeating the same lesson three times for different parts of the section as well as teaching it online for those who will not be opting to report to school.

“We have a huge number of students – 1,346 students in classes IX to XII – and we found that this arrangement might be the best way to reach everyone. On days students come, they will have six full classes up till 2 pm. Of course, it’s a lot of work for teachers but we’re working within our limitations,” said principal Manoj Kumar.

Teachers are spreading themselves across the various functions required of them.

“After offline classes, we are also trying to conduct our online classes within school hours before 2.30 pm. If that’s not possible for some reason, we are rescheduling our online classes for the evening. The most important thing that we’re focusing on is teaching. So on the days we have vaccination centre duty — which is around twice a week — we conduct our online classes after that. The time table has been made such that our offline classes don’t overlap with vaccination duty,” said Devendra Kumar Sharma, a commerce teacher at the Sector 21 school.

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