In West Bengal, schools are colleges are all set to reopen on Thursday after almost a long gap of two years which was forced to remain closed for the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time when the students had attended classes physically was back in March 2020.
“All arrangements are being made for keeping the campuses clean and sanitized. Effective steps have been taken for ensuring double vaccination for most students. Public health imperatives are paramount,” as stated by the University of Calcutta Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee.
Arrangements are going on in all the institutions across West Bengal and they are going to remain the same: no entry without mask, checking temperature and maintaining no congregation in crowded places like canteens. There are going to be many challenges, mainly that COVID-19 is far from gone and shall be taken into consideration to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus among the students. Schools will reopen for students only for Class 9 and above.
“The challenge for schools, more so the Government-run ones, is about how the students respond to the reopening- whether they throng back or have got out of the habit due to the long closure,” stated by Krishnakoli Ray who is the headmistress of DhakuriaSreeRamkrishnaVidyapath for Girls in Kolkata. “While students in upscale English-medium schools are likely to get back in full force, I fear many in Government schools, both in urban and rural areas, may have dropped out. Only time will tell whether they can be brought back to the system.”
“The onus to keep students safe is on the schools. We have cleaned and sanitized the classrooms, laboratories, common areas, washrooms, and the library thoroughly. We plan to sanitize the school building every day after classes and get the toilets cleaned periodically through the day. We have also put-up posters around the school premises to create awareness regarding COVID protocol,” as stated by Ms. Ray who, recently, was the principal of Joynagar Institution for Girls on the rural fringes of Kolkata.
‘Online Class Was a Success’
Prof. Debasish Mondal who is a teacher-in-charge at St. Pauls’s Cathedral Mission College stated that while the online classes worked out really well, the suffering part was the practical classes and thus it was necessary to recall all the students to the college.
Prof. Mondal who stated that his college had formed a COVID- monitoring team to make sure of the safety of the students for its reopening, he further said, “We have come to realize that online teaching isn’t such a bad idea- it is an idea that can be put to use as and when required. Students performed well even when the learning was online.”
“A class of 15 will move to a room that can hold 30, similarly a class of 30 will move to a hall that can accommodate 60. The canteen will remain closed. The idea is to ensure social distancing. We have also tied up with a nearby hospital, just in case someone shows symptoms. It is a situation for all of us, we are going to watch for 15 days before deciding the next course of action,” as said by Prof. Mondal.