Few takers as schools reopen in city

SHILLONG: The usual rush of students was missing on the first day of the partial reopening of schools here on Monday as the institutions maintained a staggered attendance.
Amid the immensity of the COVID-19 situation in the city, very few students attended classes, which however were not regular classes, but more of an interactive session between teachers and students.
Principal of St Edmund’s Higher Secondary School, Br. Solomon told The Shillong Times that each group of students attended classes in different timings.
“The children who attended the classes have doubts to clear and these are actually children who need help. At the same time, it is to be noted that the same teachers have to take online classes,” he said.
Br. Solomon further said that out of the 26 students, 22 attended the classes. He observed that the attendance was very good.
“The students arrived at 9 am and I received them. It went off well and I am happy with the attendance,” he said, adding that in a day, only one or two classes have been scheduled.
Stating that there are students who face issues during online classes, the principal said that the school conducted a survey on the number of students needing help.
“We did a survey and some responded that they need help. But they have to specify which chapter and this helps the children to think. The teacher then prepares the topics accordingly,” he said.
“The students should feel that it is worth coming to attend classes,” he added.
St Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, on the other hand, had students from standards 10th and 12th on the first day, who were asked to come according to their roll numbers.
The routine/periods have been fixed by teachers.
Consent letters from parents have been made mandatory.
In Lady Keane School, only five students reported on Monday even as the school authorities expect a better response on Tuesday.
Most parents are cautious as they think that their wards’ safety is more important than attending classes now.
Meghalaya has registered over 4,700 COVID cases with 37 deaths reported so far.
Sources said that it was entirely up to the students if they wished to come or not since the classes scheduled were not like the regular classes held before the outbreak of COVID.
Principal of Laitumkhrah Bengali Girls’ Secondary School, Amita Hore said teachers were present at the school on Monday to chalk out plans for learning preparation. “Teachers will call students to attend the classes and the children can come to school to clear their doubts. At the same time, online classes will continue,” Hore said.
The school has a thermal scanner and has requested the directorate of health services (DHS) for sanitisation of the institution on Tuesday so that students can come from Wednesday.
For now, the school wants to take care of Class 10 students with a maximum of 50 per cent students to be allowed to come while the plans for Class 9 will be looked into next month.
“The teachers will then call the students or send WhatsApp messages to them,” she said.
Hore said only 50 per cent of students were responding to online classes which are for students from standards 4 to 10.
“Most of them do not have access to smartphones and the parents complain that they cannot afford to buy one. It is even tougher as some students have left for their native villages and we have not been able to contact them,” she said.
For such students, the parents/guardians would come to school to collect notes prepared by the teachers.
“Our aim is to provide study material to all”, she said, adding that most of them are from the underprivileged categories.

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