New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) The chorus for reopening schools in the national capital grew louder ahead of a DDMA meeting on Friday to take a call on the restrictions imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now that the DDMA has taken its time and is now considering opening schools in Delhi, we hope they will be guided by experts who have advised that children are at least risk of poor COVID outcomes but face maximum losses and restrictions. Vaccination is not a prerequisite for them to attend school, as is evident from many countries, other Indian States, and experts,” said Tanya Aggarwal, a lawyer who has been vocal about the need for reopening schools.
Simran Khara and Dharini Mathur, parents of Delhi school children who have been running an online petition demanding that schools be reopened, said, “We hope that instead of a phased opening starting with senior classes, they allow all classes to open with revised and realistic SOPs which allow children to resume normal hours as soon as possible.” In the last DDMA meeting, the Delhi government had recommended reopening of schools, saying it was necessary to prevent further damage to the social and economic well-being of children as the COVID-19 situation in the capital had improved.
Asserting that online education can never replace classroom studies, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said the government had closed schools when it was not safe for children, but “excessive caution” was harming them.
A delegation of parents led by Chandrakant Lahariya, an epidemiologist and public policy specialist, had earlier met Sisodia and submitted a memorandum signed by over 1,600 parents demanding that schools be reopened.
R C Jain, president of the Delhi State Public School’s Management Association, said, “It’s high time DDMA decides to reopen schools. There has been enough scientific evidence pointing that its safe to reopen schools. Even World Bank has said there is no logic behind keeping the schools closed anymore.” The National Progressive Schools’ Conference (NPSC), a body of private schools, had earlier this week raised the issue of learning losses suffered by children in a letter to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
Similarly, the Action Committee of Unaided Private Schools, another body of private schools, had sought time with the L-G to put forward their concerns and discuss the reopening of schools. Baijal is the chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
Schools in the city were briefly reopened before being closed again on December 28 last year in view of the third wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant. PTI GJS IJT
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Source: The Print