Many parents unwilling to send children back to full classrooms

While the State government has decided to lift physical attendance restrictions in classrooms and allow upper primary and high schools to operate in full capacity in districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is below 1%, school managements say it will be a challenge as parents are apprehensive. This is especially the case in cities such as Bengaluru where most students have easy access to the internet and devices such as smartphones and laptops to attend online classes.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh has said that restrictions on physical attendance would be lifted from October 1.

Bharathi S., whose daughter studies in a CBSE school in Bengaluru, said, “The number of COVID-19 cases are under control in Karnataka at the moment, but cases have not disappeared. Conducting offline classes in full strength before children are vaccinated is a tricky situation and not something I support.”

Many parents that The Hindu spoke to held a similar view and said the State government should wait before lifting restrictions on physical classes.

With uncertainty among parents, private school managements in Bengaluru are likely to continue holding classes with a limited number of students physically present, at least for some time. Lokesh Talikatte, State unit president of the Recognised Unaided Private Schools’ Association, Karnataka, said taking the concerns of parents into consideration, they would continue to hold classes in batches. “We will have classes five days a week for all students from standards VII to X, but in two shifts,” he said.


R. Vishal, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that while upper primary and high schools would open and function at 100% capacity, the department would work towards allaying the apprehensions of the parents and children.

“The directions will come into force slowly and gradually,” he said.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools, admitted that it would be a “tough situation” to reopen schools in full capacity, but he said that managements had to do so in order to complete the portions for this academic year.

At the same time, the logistics of conducting online and offline classes is also proving to be a challenge. Mansoor Ali Khan, member, board of management, DPS Group of Schools, pointed out schools were not able to conduct both offline and online classes now.

“Schools have to reopen as the learning loss is becoming monumental. Even if we reopen schools now, it will take at least six months for normal learning to take place as the students need to develop grade-appropriate competencies,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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