Should Delhi Schools Reopen? 35,000 Suggestions Received, Says Minister

The Delhi government had last week sought suggestions from parents, teachers and students over the reopening of schools after which a large number of people responded.

Schools across India were shut last year in March due to the pandemic. (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Delhi government has received around 35,000 suggestions till now on whether schools should reopen or not, and it seems that most residents want a return to in-person classes, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said today. However, some people still want online classes to continue, raising safety concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Schools across India were shut and students had to switch to remote learning after restrictions were imposed in March 2020 as part of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Several states started partial reopening of schools in October last year, but were forced to resume online classes amid the deadly second coronavirus wave this year.

However, many states, including Delhi, have started the unlock process as the cases continue to decline.

The Delhi government had last week sought suggestions from parents, teachers and students and provided an e-mail address for the same after which a large number of people responded.

"Should Delhi open it's schools and colleges now? If you are a parent, student, teacher or principal in Delhi's school or college, please send me your suggestions on DelhiSchools21@gmail.com," Mr Sisodia had tweeted last Wednesday.

The deputy chief minister said within the first seven hours, they received an overwhelming response of close to 12,000 e-mails suggesting schools should reopen with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

"Looks like many people want schools to open," he said today, adding that the government has received around 35,000 suggestions till now and the responses are still coming in.

"But after assessing how many people want it to and how many do not want it -- we will keep the picture in front of the public," he said in a statement.

The results of the suggestions will soon be made public and a decision will be taken based on that.

The Delhi government will also take a decision based on the situation of neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana where schools have been allowed to reopen.

Mr Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, had earlier said that the Covid situation is under control now and Delhi is recording an average of 40-60 cases on a daily basis.

The national capital has been recording less than 100 daily COVID-19 cases since more than a month -- 85 new cases and one death was reported on Sunday. The addition of fresh cases pushed the cumulative tally to 14,36,350.

Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the Delhi government will review the experience of other states where schools are reopening and then take a decision on schools. He, however, had said that the ideal situation for reopening schools would be after vaccination is complete, citing concerns over a possible third wave of COVID-19.

India has given over 47 crore doses of vaccines so far while the centre aims to vaccinate all adults by the end of this year. However, the country is yet to clear a vaccine for children amid concerns over a third wave. AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria had said last month that the country is likely to start vaccinating children by September, and that physical classes should start in a graded manner.