Classes for junior and middle school students will now run in online mode, with even state education minister Bratya Basu saying efforts are being made to gradually bring all students back into the classroom.
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Students lined up at school gates across West Bengal from morning as per the schedule announced by the state government for classes at different times for secondary and higher secondary departments. This separation was done to reduce the mix to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Teachers and staff welcome boys and girls with hand sanitizers and thermal guns to check their temperature and advise them to wear masks at all times during school hours.
Basu said no student would be forced to attend physical classes and it was up to them and their parents to take a call on the matter.
Some parents, although happy about the reopening of schools for physical classes, have expressed concern about whether their wards will comply with the Covid safety guidelines because students will see each other and sit together in the classroom.
Educational institutions were closed for physical classes in March 2020 after the central government announced a nationwide covid-induced lockdown.
Although the lockdown was later called off, schools and colleges in the state were closed due to the epidemic.
Colleges and universities also opened their gates to students on Tuesday, although authorities at some of these institutions said different days would be set aside for different faculties to reduce congestion and reunions on campus.
Sohini Mukherjee, a student at a private school in South Kolkata, said, “I am thrilled to be back at school after all this time. Online conversations can never be as good as talking face to face with friends and teachers.”
As a government school teacher in North Kolkata says, “It’s great that kids are coming back to school among us; in an institution like ours, online can never be an equal alternative to face-to-face interactions between students. Teachers.”
Students are asked not to share their tiffins and to follow the rules of social distance.
“Even though I told my son to follow the rules, I don’t really know how long they’ll keep them, because they’ll see each other after so long,” said Perth Faith, a 9th grader.
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