Kerala: As schools reopen, excitement is in the air. Here are the first-day updates

The Education Department directed school authorities to prepare mid-day meals adhering to COVID protocols. The department has also directed schools to ensure that a doctor is available at all times
Image for representational purpose only | Pic: Express
Image for representational purpose only | Pic: Express

Thousands of students, on November 1, stepped into their schools for the first time — after a hiatus of more than one and a half years, in unusual circumstances induced due to COVID-19 health protocols.

In Kerala, students of Classes I, VII, X and XII reached their sanitised schools, decorated to welcome them as authorities held temperature checks, provided hand sanitisers and ensured that they wore masks. Offline classes for students of Classes VIII, IX and XI will start on November 15. 

The children looked excited as most were going to school after a gap of more than 18 months — children of Classes I and II were going to school for the first time. But what about the teachers? They were happy to get a break from virtual teaching and were looking forward to in-person interaction. "Online classes have their own advantages but we may not get proper feedback at times. I am very much happy that the schools have now reopened and we can teach in-person, spend time with students." 

Amidst all the first day celebrations, teachers like Deepa from a school in Ernakulam have words of caution to share. "We need to be extra careful as the pandemic is still here," Deepa told PTI. Meanwhile, parents are glad that children will be spending time in school rather than indoors. Swapna, an Infopark employee, said, "As the mother of two children who lives in an apartment, I feel that my kids need more space to spend their energy. In schools, they will be able to talk to children of their age, meet their teachers, there will be activities to keep them busy and much more. We are still worried about the pandemic." 

Government in action
Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty inaugurated the state-level school reopening at Cotton Hill Girls School and asked parents not to worry about sending their children to school as the government has taken all precautions. "More than six lakh students have newly joined public schools. The government stands with the students and their parents," Sivankutty said. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had directed the schools to implement all necessary COVID protocols, which includes disinfecting places where children frequent and putting in place a bio-bubble system.

The Education Department said that school authorities have been directed to prepare mid-day meals adhering to COVID protocols. The department has also directed schools to ensure that a doctor is available in case of emergencies. The department would ensure that schools have adequate soaps, sanitisers and thermal scanners for temperature checks.

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