With the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh announcing that schools in Tamil Nadu would start functioning for Classes 9 to 12, the schools in the state are gearing up to welcome students.
A guideline of the schedules would also be prepared with the possibility of shift classes being implemented in the state. Education department officials told IANS that a schedule for opening of schools would be put in place this week itself. This would ensure that the schools are adhering to the standard safety norms and Covid-19 standard protocols.
The Standard Operating procedure released by the Directorate of Public Health has mentioned that only 50 per cent of the students be present in the campus at a time depending on the strength. Further instructions from the Directorate of School Education are being awaited eagerly by school managements, parents, teachers, and students on whether schools should be permitted to implement a shift system or allow alternate working days.
Dr. Manikantan, Principal, Sarvodaya Public School, Erode while speaking to IANS said, “We are planning for a shift system and I hope that the Directorate of School education will allow the shift system as well as alternate working days. We are planning to have students of Classes 10 and 12 to be in school during the morning time and students of Classes 9 and 11 in the afternoon. This suits us better than the alternate days model.”
Schools with smaller classrooms will face problems as they would need enough faculty to teach students in the shift system. Parents are also worried about the situation of the pandemic and whether the schools would lead to an increase in the number of cases.
However, both parents and teachers in unison agree that classes have to be opened and without physical classes students are lagging behind in academics.
Manoj Ramanathan, father of a student who is in Class 10 at Chennai told IANS, “Physical classes are important, and in the last two years of the pandemic, I feel that my son has fallen behind in his capabilities. With classes being opened, I hope he will revive the vitality and eagerness he had for studies in a physical ambiance as online classes were not given that importance by children and there was a tendency on the part of my son to approach it in a relaxed manner. That will change for sure in a physical environment.”
Demands have already come up regarding separate guidelines for rural and urban school students as there is a marked difference among these schools.
S. Arumainathan, President, Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare Association told IANS, “School education department will have to separately address the needs of the students of rural and urban areas. Infrastructure and transport of urban and rural schools are different and these factors have to be taken into account before guidelines are brought out.