High Schools and pre-university colleges in Karnataka welcomed students to offline classes on Monday after 18 months. A large number of students poured into campuses responding positively to the appeals of the government.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh had urged the parents to send their children to schools without fear.
The principals and teachers stood at the entrance to welcome students with roses. Some schools extended welcome to their students by beating drums and blowing bugles. Some welcomed students by distributing masks and doing 'aarti' (Hindu tradition of waving of lamps to ward off evil spirits).
Chief Minister Bommai stated that the students are attending classes with all the joy and happiness and are thanking the government for the decision to reopen schools. It had been more than a year since they attended classes.
Through various programmes the teachers have made an attempt to keep in touch with students all these days. "A decision will be taken after discussion with experts on opening primary schools in the state," he said.
Minister Nagesh has given permission for the children of migrants and others who could not reach their respective schools to attend classes in nearby schools. "Parents have been sending their wards with all the happiness," he said.
The 9th, 10th and pre-university classes of 16,550 high schools, 5,492 PU colleges were opened in 26 districts of the state. The classes will be held between 10 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. The schools and pre-university colleges remained closed in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikmagalur and Kodagu districts as more number of Covid cases were being reported from here. The classes are expected to begin from August 30 onwards in these districts.
Hassan district authorities have decided to open pre-university colleges in the district from Monday and open high schools next week.
Minister B.C. Nagesh explained that the schools have been told to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour. "Barring schools, all activities in the society have begun. Children studying 9, 10 and PU are not among those who would remain inside home. They were involved in various activities and chores," he explained.
Focus on hygiene
"I visited a few schools on Sunday in Bengaluru. The schools have made proper arrangements restricting the number of students in a classroom to 20 to 25. Proper hygiene toilets, availability of sanitizers in schools are ensured. The children will also be checked and monitored for symptoms. I am confident of the smooth operation of schools in the coming days," he said.
The government would take a decision later on opening of primary schools. Some schools have a strength of 300 to 1,000 students. "We will see how to proceed after monitoring the conduct of high schools," he said.
He underlined that presently the positivity rate in the state is around one per cent and if there is an increase, the schools will be shut. "But, I don't think that day will come," Nagesh noted. Harshini, a teacher, explained that schools would come to life if only children attended classes. "The joy is the same as the parents experience in the presence of their child at home," she said.
Chief Minister Bommai visited the Government pre-university college and High School and Nirmalarani aided school in Malleshwaram on Monday with Education minister Nagesh and minister for Higher Education and IT, BT Dr C.N. Ashwath Narayan. He interacted with the students and cautioned them on the Covid infection.
Bommai has appealed to all ministers to visit schools in their districts and instill confidence among parents and students. He has also asked them to monitor precautionary measures taken by the managements of schools and colleges.