Uncertainty over reopening date puts school managements in a dilemma

They say lack of time and shortage of funds make it difficult for them to follow SOPs

Amidst confusion over the date for reopening schools, managements are in a dilemma on whether to begin preparations for it or not. The State government is yet to take a final decision.

Although the government initially announced that schools would reopen on January 1, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Wednesday said the government would take a final call later next week.

School managements will have to follow the standard operating procedure, get the premises and classrooms cleaned thoroughly before reopening.

“We depend on third-party agencies to sanitise our classrooms and if the government takes a decision next week, all schools may not be able to complete the sanitisation process as the slots may not be available,” said D. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools.

Schools are also facing shortage of funds as many parents have not paid the fees for the 2020-21 academic year.

Many parents reluctant

Private schools affiliated to central boards said a majority of the parents do not want to send their children to school. Mansoor Ali Khan, member, board of management, DPS Group of Schools, said that only 20% parents of class 10 and 12 students had given consent for their children to attend classes from January.

“The rest of the parents are happy with the online classes and we have completed the entire portions through online classes,” he said. Mr. Khan also said many parents were reluctant as the school buses were not plying. “The buses are run by our vendors, which is outsourced. They said it would not be feasible for them to run the buses for only a few students,” he said.

Some schools feel that they will unable to bear the cost of following all the SOPs. Sumanth Narayan, founder of Shanthinikethana School, said they have decided not to reopen the school as following all the SOPs would entail a lot of expenditure. “Besides, we do not want to take any risk, if the students contract COVID-19 while attending physical classes,” he said.

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