Hazards of not reopening schools too dangerous to ignore: Parliamentary panel

According to a parliamentary panel, the results of holding schools closed for bodily lessons due to the present Covid-19 pandemic state of affairs are too critical to ignore. The panel insisted that the reopening of schools might be useful for college students.

The committee has famous that the closure of schools has not solely impacted the social material of households in a detrimental manner, it has additionally elevated the involvement of youngsters in family chores. Schools have now been closed for over a 12 months in India.

“The closure of schools for over a year has had a deep impact on the wellbeing of students, especially their mental health. The hazards of not opening schools are too serious to be ignored. The confinement of young children within the four walls of the house, being unable to attend school, has altered the relationship between the parent and the children adversely,” the panel stated.

It additional famous, “The closure of schools has impacted the social fabric of the family in a negative manner leading to early/child marriage and increased involvement of children in household chores.”

“The present situation has exacerbated the learning crisis that existed even before the pandemic with marginal and vulnerable children being adversely affected. Keeping this situation in mind, it becomes all the more imperative to open schools,” it stated.

Bridging the educational hole attributable to college closure

This week the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports tabled in Parliament its report headed by Vinay P Sahsrabudhe, which is titled, “Plans to bridge the learning gap caused due to school lockdown as well as a review of online and offline instructions and exams and plans for reopening of schools.”

The seriousness of the matter ought to not be neglected and a well-balanced reasoned view could also be taken in regards to the opening up of the schools, the panel stated. The panel additionally made a number of strategies relating to the right reopening of schools-

  • Accentuating vaccine packages for all college students, lecturers, and allied workers in order that schools could begin functioning usually on the earliest.
  • Holding lessons on alternate days or in two shifts to skinny out college students, together with observance of bodily distancing and obligatory sporting of face masks always, frequent hand sanitization, and so on.
  • Regular thermal screening on the time of attendance and conducting random RT-PCR exams to establish and isolate any contaminated scholar, instructor, or workers instantly.

“Each school should have at least two oxygen concentrators with trained personnel to address any eventuality and provide first aid till the availability of outside medical help. Frequent surprise inspections of schools may be done by health inspectors and health workers to ensure strict adherence to hygiene and Covid protocols,” the panel stated.

It additionally added, “Best practices being followed in different countries for the opening of schools may be taken into consideration for making an informed decision.”

Learning loss due to pandemic

The panel has additionally famous that the educational loss of multiple 12 months due to extended college closure within the wake of the pandemic would essentially have weakened the foundational information of college students, particularly within the topics of arithmetic, sciences, and languages, on the college stage.

“This learning loss is a big deficit and is likely to impair the cognitive capabilities of students,” the panel stated in its report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

The report additionally stated, “This might have a debilitating effect on vulnerable sections of society like poor and rural students, marginalised sections of society, and young women who might have been unable to connect to any form of digital education during the pandemic. This needs to be addressed and immediate remedial steps are required to be taken.”

The schools and academic institutes throughout the nation had been shut down in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. They opened in October 2020 however had been shut down as soon as once more as circumstances started growing in 2021.

(With PTI inputs)

Read: Delhi schools to reopen partially for Classes 10 and 12 from August 9

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