‘It’s time for all students to come back to school’ – Times of India

December comes and all quality students will have a choice to return to physical school. Elizabeth Alex, principal, Saraswati Vidyalaya, said the MW ward in Chembur, which was one of the most affected wards in the city.
TOI How the reopening has prevented one year of washing for students in grades eight through twelve and why all students should return to school.

Has the astonishing method of reopening the school worked?

Reopening had to be prioritized after 18 months of Covid-19 closure. When we closed school on March 16, 2020, it felt like a break. As soon as the lockdown happened we pinched ourselves and said it was real. Initially, it was challenging but three weeks helped to streamline the reopening protocols. Now the time has come for all students to be in school because the epidemic has severely affected the reading and writing skills of all ages.

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With all classes reopening next month, what is the strategy for getting students back to school?

Parents are being encouraged to send students from 1st to 7th grade to school. They have been asked to talk to students in grades 8-10 who are attending physical school. PDF cannot replace chalk, duster and blackboard. Our students are happy to come to school. Real education is happening now. They are actually opening their textbooks in class.

How much has epidemic stress affected students and how is the school coping?


The children are back but missing in a hurry. You may have heard the bell ringing to signal the end of the school day but the students’ cheers have disappeared. Students have expressed concern about Covid-19. We started focusing on Kovid recovery stories, even asking students to share their fears and anxieties. Most importantly, we are working in their style, ruined by online schooling.

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Were there any coward cases / deaths between the students and their families?


More than 1,800 of our students are safe. During the epidemic our two young fathers died of cardiac strokes. Some parents tested positive. Don’t forget to lose your job. Our focus is on ensuring that no child drops out of school. Food items have been provided to more than two hundred families. Students join online schools regardless of fee status.

Which Covid-19 case among students after reopening?


Attendance was over 75% and no Covid-19 cases were reported. Students are masked, sanitized twice a day in toilets and general areas. Children have become aware of healthy practices. It will be a challenge for us when elementary students return to school. We are initially planning to bring 5-7 classes.

Is the hybrid learning model working?


We have smart boards and teachers are giving their best. But who likes to see a teacher face the screen in an empty classroom. Subjects such as math and science require conventional methods such as face-to-face interactions in the classroom. Hybrid solutions, unless school attendance is voluntary. Students revive three hours at school. Parents should make a conscious decision because the sooner the children go to school, the better for their overall development.

Many students come from low-income families, so is device sharing a concern?


Whether the device was a problem is a question we still have to find an answer to. The school offered the devices to students from low-income families, provided they returned the regular school if it was reopened. No single parent or student accepted the offer. We have separate online time slots for primary, secondary and higher secondary students as multiple siblings attend the same school.

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How did teachers deal with the epidemic? The role of school in dealing with their stress?


My co-teachers realized just how technically challenging we were when learning online. We connected the dots as soon as possible and tried to get as close to the classroom as possible. Teachers have been given laptops. When the lockdown came, the schools had WiFi on. Teachers even gave lectures and physiotherapy sessions.


What about parents and their stress in an epidemic?


In the days of online learning we have realized the role of parents in virtual classrooms. Teachers were asked to encourage parents to talk about their problems during the epidemic. It helped us to know where the baby was standing.

Has enrollment decreased in this academic year? Did the students leave the city during the epidemic? How many have returned?


About 15% of lower class students’ families (up to sixth grade) have moved to their hometowns. All but a few have returned. Junior and Senior Kindergarten (150 seats each) were filled. The cost of education is minimal as it is a subsidized school (primary and secondary).

With the Covid-19 case drastically reduced, where will you see the school next year?


We can’t wait to get back to pre-covid schooling. As our organization completes 70 years, school uniforms should be overhauled next year. Several educational activities are also lined up.

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