We have taken a little risk by reopening schools, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia said today as students of classes 10 and 12 returned to their classrooms after 10 months when the coronavirus lockdown was enforced. Schools across Delhi have since remained shut in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The step had to be taken to prepare students for practical exams and pre-boards, he told NDTV after reviewing Covid-safety measures at various schools this morning.
He also tweeted pictures with students doing lab work.
Felt really good to meet children in schools after such a long time!— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) January 18, 2021
They are still adjusting to be back in school with safety norms but are extremely happy to meet their friends!
Teachers are also overjoyed to meet students saying it has filled an empty space in their life. pic.twitter.com/w7OyTo9fWV
"The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) board exams are due in a few months. We hope that this exercise pays off and students gain the confident needed," Mr Sisodia, who is also the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, said.
On Monday, attendance was low in many schools.
"Only 40 out of the 300 students we sent parental consent forms to reverted. Even out of this number, only 20 have come for classes on Monday," Principal of Delhi Public School (Mathura) Deeksha Khera told NDTV.
We are also concerned about class 11 students... hope to resume some more classes from April, she added.
However, resuming school for more students has been ruled out for now.
Mr Sisodia said schools "will not be reopened for other classes till a significant section of the population gets the COVID-19 vaccine". He reassured that though the admissions for nursery have been delayed they would be done for the next academic session.
The decision to reopen schools for classes 10 and 12 was taken last week as the city's positivity rate dropped to under 1 per cent and daily fresh infections remained below 500 after the recent third wave of COVID-19 infections.
Schools have been instructed to ensure students and teachers follow Covid-safe behaviour including mask wearing and distancing. They must also ensure sanitisation of classrooms, laboratories and other common areas and keep a stock of face masks and sanitisers for students.
The Delhi government has said no one will be forced to attend classes and parental approval would be compulsory.