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Some government and private schools are set to open on August 18, which is considered an auspicious day, or by September.

Schools in Andhra Pradesh students who are sitting on benches wearing mask and seating distantlyImage Credit: Slate School
news Education Monday, August 16, 2021 - 21:03

Many schools in Andhra Pradesh officially reopened on Monday, August 16, after a period of three months. However, the first day of the reopening witnessed a low turnout of students amid fears of the third wave of COVID-19. According to the schools, the first day has remained dull as students were circumspect and did not interact much among themselves. 

“Students are back to school after a long time. They are definitely happy and relieved to be in school as they met their friends after a long time. However, the activeness among students is missing,” said Amarnath Vasireddy, Director of Slate Group of Schools, whose Vijayawada and Tirupati branches reopened on Monday with a 30%-35% turnout of students.

“Students are not interacting among themselves,” said Amar, who is also a professional student counsellor. He pointed out that most of the students are used to isolation in their homes during the online classes and are fearful of the COVID-19 related consequences. “It will take a lot of time for them to get back to normalcy. Their confidence levels have decreased and inhibition levels have increased,” he added.

Schools in Andhra Pradesh had reopened for a brief period from February to April this year. It was soon closed due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. After the order to cancel all classes were announced, the Andhra Education ministry declared all students from Class 1 to 9 promoted.

Though online classes were happening as an alternative mode of education, it was said that the writing and communication skills of many students took a back seat during this time, especially among primary school students. “While they were at school, they used to have motivation from their peers and teachers to write and speak well and there would be a lot of observation, all of which have been absent during online classes,” said Amarnath, sharing his observation from the first day of reopening of the Tirupathi branch.

Meanwhile, not all private and government schools have opened as yet, as parents said they would send their children on Wednesday, which is considered an ‘auspicious day.’ Other schools have announced that they would begin schools from September 1. 

A teacher from a corporate school in Machilipatnam of Krishna district, on the condition of anonymity, said that the school management is also making calls to parents to get their feedback on reopening schools. “Here in the town, it was decided that private schools would reopen from Wednesday, that is, from August 18. When we were making calls, parents of many higher-secondary class students expressed willingness to send their wards to schools, while the parents of primary school students were still in fear. Initially, it was also decided to have online classes along with offline classes till the students get used to it. Our school has a separate faculty for teaching online classes,” said the teacher. 

Another problem that schools are reeling from is the lack of staff. In the last academic year, with the low turnout of students, several school management resorted to layoffs. According to many school managements, the schools are still in a dilemma over the recruitment of more teachers amid fears of the third wave.

Speaking to The News Minute, Commissioner of School Education Chinna Veerabadhrudu said, “The Andhra Pradesh government had given all schools the green signal to reopen schools from today (August 16), and many have opened accordingly. However, in government schools, we have kick-started the Mana Badi - Naadu Nedu, a programme to upgrade school infrastructure to reduce the dropout rate, and we were engaged with that.”

Meanwhile, the strength of students is expected to increase by next week, in both private and government schools.

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