Fear of an emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid in Bengaluru, parents are reluctant to send their children to school.
For their part, schools are waiting for government orders.
Hemu R, a parent whose child studies in class 9, informed The Observer: “It is very scary for me to send my girl to school after hearing about the formation of new Covid clusters. The new variant, as it is known, mutates multiple times, making it even more dangerous. I know online classes are not as good as onsite/offline ones, but in an alarming situation like this, schools should consider shifting back to online classes.”
Sajeesh KP, who has three children, faces a similar dilemma. “Online classes are not as good as offline classes, but they are safer. Two of my children are going for onsite classes and we worry about them. The younger ones are naughty and don’t take proper precautions. We try to make them use sanitizer as much as possible but aren’t sure they do that in school too. I think sooner or later, schools will have to switch to offline classes again,” he said
Schools, however, aren’t sure of what they should do.
Karthik Joshi, Principal of Swargarani School and PU College, said they are following every precaution to avoid any untoward situation. “We were planning to have offline classes for primary school, but with this news coming, we have cancelled them. However, for higher secondary schools, we have given the students an option…. They can choose to attend onsite or online classes.”
Margaret Eastwood, Principal of Eastwood High School, however, said although there is a dip in attendance, they are not planning a shift to online classes. “We observe things on a day-to-day basis. I understand that there might be reluctance on the part of parents but there hasn’t been any government order. If the government asks us to cancel onsite classes, we will do that.”
Kashwi M, a student of Holy Angel School, said her school tries to follow all Covid-appropriate protocols. “I like to attend offline classes as I can meet my friends and. But Covid is a problem since we are not vaccinated and cases are rising.”
Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Karnataka Associated Management of English -Medium Schools, said: “As of now, there is no plan to shift to online classes. Covid clusters are only a few so we are planning to observe the situation. Also a major issue is that students after school go to social gatherings, where the risk is increased. Parents should try to prevent that. There are no SOPs for private tuitions and coaching centres which also is a big problem. We are going to wait for the government instructions and try to take every possible precaution in the schools to avoid formation of clusters.”
The Print recently reported the formation of four Covid clusters in schools and colleges. They recorded more than 250 cases. A dip in attendance has prompted many schools to return to online classes, according to a report in The Hindu.