‘We Are Happy To Be Back At School’- Say Smiling I-V std Students Seated in Classes
Mangaluru: For the first time since March 2020, primary classes — grades 1 to 5, were finally reopened on Monday, 25 October 2021. The Karnataka government had permitted classes to be held for half a day till the end of October, and full-day classes with “bisi oota”(Midday meals) at certain schools will resume from November 2. A decision on reopening kindergarten classes is yet to be taken. The decision to permit 1-5 std classes was taken after the Technical Advisory Committee recommended to the government to permit more activities following the drop in the Covid-19 positivity rate.
With the government stating that attendance is not compulsory, attendance today, on the first day of school was around 50%. It is also learnt that online classes will be available for those still apprehensive about attending classes. While the government circular said only 50% of classroom capacity should be used, it also clarified that if schools have sufficient infrastructure to maintain social distancing, all students can be on campus at the same time. Children were asked to furnish consent forms from parents and must be screened for Covid symptoms at the gates. Classrooms and restrooms must be sanitized daily and only vaccinated teachers will be allowed on campus. Teachers who are above 50 years must wear face shields, as per government norms.
With on-campus classes that began today, the district administration had directed all schools to strictly follow Covid-19 protocols and Covid-appropriate behaviour. Schools have been directed to follow social distancing strictly and to teach students in small groups comprising 20 students each, and all classrooms to be sanitised and masks wearing made compulsory for students. Since space could be a constraint, the teachers have been directed to make use of corridors. Under the ‘Shala Spandana’ programme, the officials have been asked to visit five schools once a week. They have also been asked to review teaching in schools and check if students are studying well. Schools have been directed not to take classes in classrooms that are in a dilapidated state. Students who are lagging behind in studies must be identified and given special attention.
Team Mangalorean visited two schools in the City, namely St Aloysius Higher Primary School, Kodialbail, Mangaluru and St Theresa’s school, Bendore, Mangaluru, and both the schools were all set to welcome students for in-person classes. Classes were decorated with balloons and thoughtful messages were written on blackboards like “You Are All Amazing Just the Way You Are”; “WELCOME-Welcome, Everyone is Unique, Learning Unites Us, Courtesy is Contagious, Overcome Obstacles, Make a Difference, Education is Power”; We All Have Something Within Us That World Needs-Dream BIG, Work Hard, Stay Kind”; Welcome Back Your School Missed You”; Welcome To Our Classroom Where The Magic Never Stops and The Adventure Never Ends”.
And here is a very thoughtful message that was seen in the V std classroom at St Aloysius Higher Primary School, which said, “Dear Student, Like A Fresh Flower You Have Come To Us spreading Joy With Your Innocence & Happiness. May God Bless You and Give Us The Pleasure Of Being With You”- and the Headmistress Ms Philomena Lewis greeted and interacted with the students and their parents, and she was overjoyed to see her school children back after months- and the students were also happy and in smiles to be at their school which they missed for so long, and the company of their teachers and classmates. At St Theresa’s School Principal Sr Lourdes interacted with the children of 1-5th std and encouraged them to be attentive, study well and follow Covid-19 protocols.
Susan Pinto, escorting her son studying in IInd standard at St Theresa’s School speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “I am finally relieved after the school started today since it was hectic to manage two school going kids at home, apart from my job and other home duties. I am very much confident that the management, teachers and staff will follow all the Covid-19 guidelines for the safety of the children. My children always wanted to go back to school, since they didn’t like Online classes, and I too feel that online classes didn’t serve any good for the children to gain knowledge and be smart like offline classes. I was happy to see the Principal, teachers and management staff giving a special welcome to the students, and making them feel special. Also good to see that the teachers have decorated the school with buntings and balloons, for a grand welcome”.
Shwetha Rai, the mother of an IIIrd standard student at St Aloysius Higher Primary school said, “The online classes did not help my daughter grasp anything and she was not focused on academics like before. My child has forgotten basic mathematics and other subjects. I am happy that the government finally decided to reopen schools so that the children can now enjoy offline classes. This morning she was all excited to go back to school and was anxiously waiting to meet her teachers and classmates. I am grateful to the management and staff of St Aloysius Higher Primary School for taking all the precautions pertaining to Covid, for the safety of the students. I know that my child is in safe hands with the management staff and teachers at the School”.
An IVstd teacher of St Aloysius Hr Pr School said, “I am happy to see the children back at school, whom we have missed since March 2020. Many parents, including their children, were not happy with online classes, and they were hoping that the school would open soon, and today their dreams have come true. No student looked bored or unhappy, instead, they were all happy and cheerful to be with their teachers and classmates. More than the students being happy, we teachers too are overwhelmed to have our students amidst us after a long time, and we promise to look after them with care and follow the Covid-19 norms, for their safety”.
Sources reveal that in Dakshina Kannada, 1,57,562 students studying in standards 1 to 5 will be attending school and that classes will be held for half a day and on alternative days for three days a week. And that classes will be held regularly from November 2 onwards. As per, Malleswamy, the Deputy Director of Public Instruction of the District speaking to the media had said that all the preparations have been made and the parents are expected to send their children to schools. He however said that those who want to get online education will get it. In preparation for the school reopening, meetings of parents with the participation of district-level officials including block education officers were held and opinions of the parents were gathered. The parents have expressed willingness to send their children to schools.
PARKING VEHICLES HAPHAZARDLY BY PARENTS/DRIVERS CREATES CHAOS FOR OTHER MOTORISTS RESULTING ALSO IN TRAFFIC JAMS NEAR SCHOOLS:
It is a known fact that during the beginning and end of school time, the entire stretch of the road from St Agnes School and St Theresa’s school get choked due to illegal and haphazard parking of vehicles by parents and drivers of vans/school vans along the side of this stretch of road, which turns into a nightmare for motorists and pedestrians. With no sustained police patrolling along this road, the violators are having an upper hand, as they continue to park along either side of the road affecting the normal flow of traffic.
And even though, both the school managements have made proper arrangements to have security personnel and help from Traffic Wardens trying to control the smooth flow of traffic, still, a few parents and drivers go their way, disobeying the rules, thereby putting others in hardship and traffic chaos. For example, this morning at around 8:00 am or so, a Ford Car bearing Reg No KA 19 MF 9843 was parked haphazardly along the side of the curb, in front of St Theresa’s School, for nearly 15-20 minutes, which led to traffic chaos. and with drivers of other vehicles yelling and cursing at the Two Samaritans aka Traffic Wardens Francis Maxim Moras and Sujith Noronha, as if it was their fault, even though they were doing their best to control the traffic- and both of them fumed at the owner of the car parked haphazardly insisted that Team Mangalorean highlight the issue, so that the owner of the car learn by the mistake, and also others who do the same thing.
And who would park in such a haphazard way putting other motorists in hardship- and surprisingly, the educated and well-to-do people- and in this case, with a doctor sticker on the car rear window, the driver has to be in a medical field. And this car owner is not the only one who has broken the rules, there are many other parents and drivers who are seen parking their vehicles in front of these schools, in double lines, thereby choking the traffic flow. The management of the schools, the security guards and Traffic Wardens can only do so much, but it is the responsibility of the vehicle owners to use their common sense not to park their vehicles illegally and haphazardly, putting others into hardship and inconveniences, including many times, the ambulances which get stuck in this traffic jam putting the patients in risk, due to a few ignorant people parking their vehicles illegally.