Karnataka schools reopening: Midday meals may take longer to resume

A file photo of children having midday meals in a Mysuru school.  

While primary classes across Karnataka are set to reopen on October 25 after a gap of nearly 20 months, teachers and Education Department officials foresee some hurdles before the functioning is back on track.

Several schools across the State expressed anxiety over the logistics of restarting midday meals. Teachers are in a dilemma whether to ask students from Classes I to V to bring their own food or arrange for the meals in the schools. Presently, students from Classes VI to X who are attending classes for the whole day are bringing their own food, as they are also not being served the midday meal, said a teacher in Dakshina Kannada.

At Mysuru too, while schools are ready to resume, they are seeking time for resuming midday meals or Askshara Dasoha from the same day. With school kitchens still not fully prepared to start cooking food in the absence of necessary inputs, especially groceries and cooking gas.

“We have sought the postponement of midday meals for four days to one week. This will help us make preparations,” said Karnataka State Primary School Teachers’ Association’s Mysuru unit general secretary Mahesh H.S. The midday meal staff are supposed to be fully vaccinated to join their duties. There are some staff who are awaiting their second doses as they are yet to complete 84 days.

Two sessions?

The headmaster of another school in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada said the directions by Chief Secretary Ravi Kumar state that offline classes for Classes I to V should be held for 50% of the capacity of each classroom.

“Whether we have to hold classes in two sessions in a day or hold classes on alternate days has to be clarified,” he said. A teacher in the same school expressed anxiety over learning levels. “It will take a few days to assess the learning level of students and plan bridge courses for students,” she said.

Monitoring issues

Roopa R. Pai, Vice-Principal of Chetan Public School, Hubballi, said that although students of higher classes are already attending classes, it is a different case with younger children.

“They need strict monitoring. This apart. we have put up signboards with pictures on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour throughout the campus. We have also circulated video clips of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to the parents,” she told The Hindu.

As per the protocol, arrangements have been made to accommodate only 15 to 20 students per class. And in order to check crowding, there would be two entries to the school, she explained.

Consent letters

Meanwhile, the department has issued instructions to teachers to collect letters from parents expressing their consent to send their children to schools.

K.S. Prakash, DDPI of Hassan, told The Hindu, “We have issued instructions to schools to collect consent letters from the parents. The department will take measures necessary for the safety of children,” he said.

(With inputs from Mangaluru, Hubballi, Mysuru, and Hassan)

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 9:34:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/school-reopening-midday-meals-may-take-longer-to-resume/article37079906.ece

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