Schools and pre-university colleges across Karnataka resumed physical classes on Monday, August 23 after 18 months of being shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Karnataka government on August 16 issued a circular permitting students of Classes 9 and 10 in schools, along with pre-university (PU) colleges to resume physical classes, and issued SOPs to be followed. Classes resumed at 16,550 high schools and 5,492 PU colleges in the state from 10 am to 1.30 pm. TNM spoke to some schools in Bengaluru, where the staff said that they received positive responses from parents and students, with about 90% students in attendance.
Mahalakshmi J, the principal of New Cambridge Public School in the city, said that 100% of the parents had agreed to send their wards to school. â€śAll the parents have shown willingness to send the children back to school, today is only the first day. We will try to accommodate the students in the classes if everyone shows a willingness to attend physical classes,â€ť said Jayashree. She added that the school is also fitting cameras in classrooms to live broadcast the lessons for the students who wish to attend online classes. The school management ensured that students were aware of the COVID-19 protocols, and welcomed them back by disbursing sanitiser and chocolates.
Meanwhile, the principal of Indian Education Society School in the city, Hareesha RP, noted out of 150 students enrolled in Class 10, 100 students had attended school. Students from Class 9 were more in attendance than class 10 students, he added. â€śThe school had already informed the parents about the precautions that will be taken by the school, which clarified doubts of many parents. We also assured them that the staff, including sanitation staff and clerical staff, were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 which gave them the confidence to send their children to school. However, some still remained sceptical about it. They took stock of the situation on Monday and assured to send their children from Wednesday,â€ť he said.
A school staff scanning a student for fever before going to classroom
Similarly, pre-university college students were ecstatic about returning to campuses. Prem Chandra, the principal of Basaveshwara College in Bengaluru, told TNM that many students were relieved that physical classes began again, since they did not have access to devices to attend online classes.
However, while protocols were followed inside the premises, students were seen crowding at the exit with masks resting on their chins in a bid to catch up with friends after 18 long months.
Students of New Cambridge Public School waiting to be screened before entering classes
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, along with Education Minister BC Nagesh and Minister for Higher Education and IT, BT Dr CN Ashwathnarayan, visited a state-run school and pre-university college in Malleswaram on Monday and interacted with the students, welcoming them back to campus. CM Bommai had appealed to all ministers to visit schools in their districts to encourage students to attend physical classes. He also asked them to monitor precautionary measures taken by the management of schools and colleges to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Students of Indian High School attend physical class while following COVID-appropriate behaviour
However, schools and PU colleges in some districts with high COVID-19 caseload remained closed. These included institutions in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikmagalur and Kodagu districts, where physical classes are expected to begin on August 30. Meanwhile, Hassan district authorities decided to open pre-university colleges in the district from Monday, and open high schools next week.
With IANS inputs