After nearly 11 months schools and colleges in Telangana reopened for physical classes on Monday with all precautionary measures in view of Covid-19 pandemic.
Students of 9th standard and above returned to class rooms following all safety guidelines like wearing masks and following social distancing.
The schools provided masks to those who did not have one, arranged hand sanitisers and checked the body temperature of students with thermal guns before allowing them in.
The schools, junior colleges, degree colleges and post-degree colleges re-opened with all precautionary measures in place to check the spread of Covid-19.
The educational institutions resumed the classes with staggered timings and restricted the maximum number of students in a class room to 20 to ensure physical distancing.
The schools allowed the students after taking consent letters from parents. It was mixed feelings for students. While they were happy to return to class rooms and meet their teachers and friends after a long gap, the overall mood was apprehensive and one of caution.
The normal scenes of a group of students huddling together for a chit-chat were not witnessed. The seating arrangement in class rooms was to ensure six feet distance.
In government-run Mahabubia Girls High School in Hyderabad, for instance, one student was sitting on one bench instead of two to three in pre-Covid days.
The state has 14,252 high schools and 2,464 junior colleges and over 1,000 degree colleges. Many private schools had staggered timings to avoid crowding.
A teacher at Mahabubia School said they ensured cleaning of all class rooms before reopening the school. Markings were made on the ground at the entrance to ensure that the students maintain physical distance.
“We are ensuring there is no crowding in classes, ground or during lunch,” the teacher said. The school conducted meeting with parents before resuming classes. Since 10th standard is a key turning point in the life of students, the parents wanted to send the children for physical classes.
Teachers hope that the students will get confidence with interaction with their teachers and they will be ready to learn more.
In some private schools, classes for 50 per cent of the students were conducted during morning hours while the remaining were called after lunch to avoid crowding.
“My son who is in 10th standard will be spending only three hours. I have suggested to the school authorities to take classes on alternate days so that he can spend a few hours every day and benefit from offline classes. Today is the first day and I hope things will improve in coming days,” said Mohammed Rafi, whose son studies at a leading private school.
Most of the schools saw 50 per cent attendance on the first day of reopening.
“The attendance was good despite the fact that the schools were reopening after a long time and pandemic is still around. But as confidence grows, we expect more parents will send their wards,” said Ahmed Ali, a teacher at Government Boys’ High School, Shah Gunj.
Ali, who teaches mathematics, said the students were happy to return to classes but they were also worried on whether they will be able to cope up with the syllabus in the remaining time this academic year.
The education department last week announced that exams for 10th standard or Secondary School Certificate (SSC) will be held from May 7 to May 13.
The education department has announced that May 26 will be last working day will of schools. There will be a total of 89 working days in the academic year.
The Board of Intermediate Education will conduct the annual examinations for intermediate first and second year from May 1 to May 20.
While exams for intermediate first year (11th standard) will be held from May 1 till May 19, the same for second year (12th standard) will begin on May 1 and will continue till May 20.
The educational institutions were shut in mid-March, a few days before imposition of nation-wide lockdown. Exams could not be conducted for class 1 to 11 and all students were promoted to the next class.
For academic year 2020-21, online classes began on September 1. Following requests from parents of many students, the authorities decided to reopen schools for physical classes for class 9 and above.