NEW DELHI: Over two lakh parents from across the country have signed a
petition demanding that schools should not be reopened unless the Covid-19
situation improves or a vaccine is ready.
The petition, which has been signed by over 2.13 lakh parents, comes following the government's announcement that schools, colleges, coaching centres and other educational institutions will be reopened after discussing the coronavirus situation with states and Union territories in July.
"Opening of schools in July will be the worst decision by the
government. It's like playing with fire when we ought to douse it with full
force. The current academic session should continue in e-learning mode,"
"If the schools claim that they are doing a good job via virtual learning, then why not continue it for the rest of the academic year," the petition submitted to the central government said.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of a slew of measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Later, the government announced a nationwide lockdown which began on March 25. The lockdown was initially imposed for a 21-day period till April 14. But, it was later extended till May 31.
The government on Saturday announced phase-wise easing of restrictions, while the lockdown will continue in containment zones till june 30.
It said schools, colleges and coaching institutes will be opened after consultation with states and UTs.
"State governments and UT administrations may hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on reopening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July, 2020," the Home Ministry said in a statement.
However, the announcement has rung alarm bells among parents who believe the move will be highly unsafe.
"At home, we can take several precautions but how will we ensure that when kids go to school? Lunch breaks, school buses, everywhere there will be fear. At a time when cases are rising, it's not a wise thing to do," Swati Bhardwaj, mother of a seven-year-old child, said.
Gurgaon resident Mayank Mehra said, "When the lockdown was announced neither teachers nor students or parents were prepared for the technological intervention but now in two months some ground has been made and it can be smoothly pursued for a few months till the situation is normal.”
The pending board exams and entrance examinations which were postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown have also been scheduled in July.
Alka Kapur, the principal of Modern Public School Shalimar Bagh, said the school will give both the options to students.
"We have to be more than careful to ensure the safety and security of our students and teachers. For this purpose, we've decided to take several precautionary measures. We have decided to operate the school in two separate batches to reduce the number of students attending the school at a time," she said. "We have also made several arrangements for the safe passage of students in and out of the school. In our campus, we have four gates and we've chosen different gates for the entry of buses, walkers, vans, etc. to ensure smooth arrival and departure. Also, the students will be maintaining proper physical distance inside the school buses as well," Kapur said.
She said in case a parent is unwilling to send the child, the school will ensure that he/she gets access to online classrooms so that the student's education does not have to suffer.
The death toll due to Covid-19 rose to 5,394 and the number of cases climbed to 1,90,535 in the country, which registered the biggest single-day spike of 230 deaths and 8,392 cases till Monday 8 am, according to the Union Health Ministry.
India is now seventh among the nations worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy, according to the WHO coronavirus tracker.