Schools reopen for all classes in Punjab, children happy, but many parents apprehensive



CHANDIGARH: Schools for all classes reopened in Punjab on Monday, with physical classes resuming after a gap of a few months for pre-primary levels.

The attendance was reported more from rural areas while turnout at many private schools was not that high.

The state government on Saturday had allowed reopening of schools for all classes from August 2 as it further relaxed Covid restrictions in the wake of declining cases.

While all coronavirus-related protocols will have to be strictly followed, parents will have to provide a written consent for their children to attend schools from 8 am to 2 pm.

Officials said schools reopened for all classes across the state on Monday.

Earlier, schools had reopened for pre-primary levels and classes 1 and 2 in Punjab in February this year after a gap of nearly 10 months after classes were suspended in March 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Before deciding to reopen schools for all classes from August 2, the government had already allowed reopening of schools for Classes 10 to 12 from July 26.

Virtual classes will continue for students who are unable to attend classes at schools.

At many places including Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Rupnagar, Mohali and Patiala, children looked in a happy and festive mood as they returned to their respective schools after a long break.

Ridhi, a student of Class 9 at DAV Public School in BRS Nagar in Ludhiana, expressed happiness over the decision.

” We were really fed up sitting at our homes,” she said.

Payal, a Class 9 student in Rupnagar, said she had been missing her teachers and friends and was now feeling delighted to attend the school.

A science student from Amritsar, Rajbir Kaur said, “It is not possible to take practical classes while sitting at home and without a science lab”.

Some parents, however, expressed apprehensions on classes resuming in physical mode amid the pandemic.

In Patiala city, 50 per cent attendance was reported in the schools while villages recorded a higher percentage.

According to Gurmukh Singh, the father of an eighth class student of a government school, Patiala, he did not send his child to school because the children had not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Another parent from Patiala, who did not wish to disclose his name, said there was pressure from the “private school lobby” to reopen schools for all classes.

In Rupnagar and some other districts, thin attendance was seen in primary classes, while in Ferozepur, both students and parents had mixed reactions on government’s decision to reopen schools for all classes.

Although most parents are still worried about COVID-19, they said they will monitor the progress of the reopening of schools for a week.

Some parents claimed that their wards were unable to learn well through online classes due to the internet connectivity issue.

Many parents expressed apprehensions about a possible spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Of course, I am worried about my daughter’s safety, even though she is excited. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid situation, you feel scared,” said Pooja Vohra, a parent in Ferozepur.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and AAP leader Harpal Singh Cheema sought to know from the state government on the basis of which report of doctors and education experts did it take “such a big decision” (on reopening all classes) relating to the lives of 60.

5 lakh children, who constitute 20 per cent of the state’s total population.

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