Most parents prefer online classes in Andhra Pradesh
It is a worry-time again for the parents in Andhra Pradesh who are to send their children to the schools from November 2.
Amaravati: It is a worry-time again for the parents in Andhra Pradesh who are to send their children to the schools from November 2.
The State Government has ordered reopening of schools on 'odd-even" basis putting in place all COVID-19 protocols to ensure students' safety. But, there is trepidation on part of the parents and teachers though officials are Ok with the directive. The Hans India felt the pulse of the people across the State only to notice anxiety and worry at the move. The consensus is "viral times mean virtual classes". Heavy rains and cyclones only add to the unease.
"I prefer online classes for this academic year. Not ready to send children to the school," says Nalini, a bank employee in Aravindanagar of Anantapur. She avers: "Life is more precious than schooling now".
Kulayappa of Marthadu village, who sends his two kids to the local panchayath school, is not averse to the idea of schooling if adequate precautions are taken. District Education Officer Samuel assures the parents as well as children like Sarala and Mahesh of Class Eighth of a corporate school that schools would be safe. Nellore officials are banking on sanitization, facemasks and social distancing. DEO P Ramesh says that Covid tests for students have been taken up in seven mandals, but it might take time to complete it.
Do the schools have thermal scanners and sanitizers? Venkata Seshaiah, district vocational education officer, says "there is no specific budget for it but we are gearing up."
To a pointed question, principals in government schools of Visakhapatnam say "preferably, disinfection should be done twice a day – before and after school hours." "At present, 30 percent of the students are attending classes for a few hours. But with a strength of over 900 students,
the crux of the challenge lies in realigning each class with a strength of 16-20 students to avoid crowding. An action plan will be readied depending on the Standard Operating Procedure we receive from the government before reopening all the Classes," explains D A Naidu, Headmaster of KDPM High School.
At present, there are 5,498 schools in Visakhapatnam. Breaking the sections into smaller batches and ensuring sanitisation of the campus at regular intervals turn out to be a major concern for the school managements.
Over 25 students in Vizianagaram and over a dozen more
in a private tutorial centre in Guntur have tested viral positive recently.
In Guntur too many parents are not ready to send their children studying upto Class 6 to the schools and seek postponement at least till January.
"How can we control children from close interaction in schools?" asks D Kiran Kumar, whose daughter is in Class 5.
DEO RS Ganga Bhavani, however assures, "We will follow Covid-19 protocols in the schools." Municipal Teachers Federation State President S Rama Krishna said "60% primary schools are conducting classes for 1 to 5th students in two rooms. Two teachers are maintaining the primary schools. To engage a sweeper, it costs at least Rs 6,000 per month in addition to sanitizers cost. The maximum school grant is only Rs 25,000 per annum and we have not got any so far. Mid-day meals becomes a cumbersome exercise now."
East and West Godavari districts reacted no differently. MRK Rao, a parent, says, "Remodelled schools are excellent. Yet, what are the safety measures in place? Mid-day meals is a big worry too", whereas B S Manyam, dissents to say "the government has done an excellent job with schools. No need to worry".
V Kumar, Municipal Primary School Headmaster, however, asked parents not to worry as all measures would be in place.
Tirupati yielded mixed responses to the queries. Bhanu, a parent, says "online classes are better for the time being. Playful children cannot adhere to safety norms all the while." Samba Siva Reddy of Tirupati town concurs with her while Haranatha Sharma, who runs a school admits "hardly 50 per cent of parents are willing to send their wards to the school".