Educational institutions in Bihar evoke lukewarm response on Day 1 of reopening

Thousands of students wearing masks marched to their respective schools for attending regular classes for the first-time post Covid-19 outbreak on Monday.

City-based private and government schools welcomed students of Class 9 to 12 for regular classes after facing closure for 306 days.

Majority of private schools were seen following Covid-19 safety protocols while arrangements at few govt schools were not as per specified standards.

At Bankipore Girls’ High School and Bapu Smarak Girls’ High School, staff were seen distributing face masks among students at entrance gate.

On the other hand, one guardian who went to drop his son at Government Boys’ High School, Shastri Nagar, said, “We reached school at 9 am but locks were hanging at entrance gate. After half an hour wait, few staff reached the school.”

Association of Independent Schools, Bihar, which coordinates with 890 private schools affiliated with CBSE and CISCE, assured that all private schools will rigorously follow Covid-19 safety guidelines after reopening.

CB Singh, president of the association, said, “We have asked all schools associated with us to constitute ‘Covid Care Committee’ in a bid to implement and monitor safety protocols. 50% students will be called on alternate basis and premises will be sanitised every day after classes. With consent of parents, several schools are mulling to conduct classes on holidays as well to compensate academic loss occurred due to Covid-19 pandemic.”

Ashfaque Iqbal, vice-principal of Bishop Scott Boys’ School, said, “For calling 50% students, we have classified them into east and west region to facilitate better transport facility. We have made alternate seating arrangements in classrooms for maintaining social distancing. We also conducted mock drill today for training our security personnel about thermal screening and hand sanitisation at entrance without any physical contact. We will conduct classes from 9.30 am to 1pm.”

Meanwhile, government schools have also sanitised the premises to welcome students.

Meena Kumari, principal of Bankipore Girls’ High School, said, “Classrooms have been sanitised. Circles have been marked on floors for of practical classroom for keeping 6 feet distance. Students will have to bring consent letter from their guardians for attending classes. Two masks will be provided to each student at entrance gate.”

On December 18, Bihar education department allowed the educational institutions to reopen for senior students following SOPs.

Sanjay Kumar, principal secretary of education department, said, “We will hold a review meeting on January 18 to assess the outcome of reopening of schools for higher classes and decision for resuming junior classes will be taken afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Patna Women’s College, Magadh Mahila College and BN College partially resumed classes for final year students with 50% occupancy.

Shashi Sharma, principal of Magadh Mahila College, said, “Initially, we have called degree part III students. There will be no practical or subsidiary classes.”

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