COVID-19 second wave presses pause button on summer camps in Kerala capital

One of the casualties of the COVID-19 second wave has been children’s summer vacation camps. With classes going online last year and limited peer interaction, children’s mental and physical health suffered. With COVID-19 cases seemingly under control once, children had hoped to get away from the restricted environs at home, meet others of their age, and have fun, at least for a few hours a day. But now, as pandemic restrictions have been tightened, summer camps seem a distant possibility.

The Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE)at Karyavattom, which used to organise one of the biggest summer camps in the city with hundreds of children in attendance, said the COVID-19 protocols prevent it from organising such an event this year. However, there are plans to organise virtually some events for school and college students such as one on yoga that will not only educate them but also benefit them physically, says LNCPE Principal G. Kishore.

Creativity may be hit

D. Reghoothaman, co-founder of the Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre that conducts children’s theatre camps, says he has not been able to give a thought to a camp for children owing to the second wave of COVID-19. He is not comfortable with the idea of an online camp, saying shooting and sharing a session on social media changes the grammar of theatre. Theory classes could be held online, but children would not be very keen. Creativity would be affected if practical sessions were to be held online, he says.

Mampazhakalam, Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan’s annual summer camp, too will not be held this year. The Samskrithi Bhavan has been organising two cultural programmes a month, online, for the public in the wake of the pandemic. Other than that, no events are planned. Any decision on an online programme for children will depend on how the COVID-19 situation evolves, says Culture Director T.R. Sadasivan Nair.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Jawahar Balbhavan’s summer camp has moved online. The camp, for children in the 4-16 age group, will be held till May-end, says institute principal S. Malini. Six live sessions a week are offered in three disciplines, and 500-odd children have registered.

Accustomed to online mode

Theatre director Prasanth Narayanan plans to start a camp for children on May 10. If possible, it will be held offline. Else, it will be organised online with all technical aspects in place. A live class through on online platform is what he has in mind. With children used to online classes now and availability of devices not a hurdle for most, the online mode should not be much of a hassle, he says.

The Institution of Engineers (India) that began a 25-day vacation class for students has put it on hold after six days. Though precautionary measures such as physical distancing, wearing of masks and temperature checks were in place, the increase in COVID-19 cases has prompted it to do a rethink. A review will be held on May 3 when a decision will be taken.

“We have a commitment to the 19 participants and will ensure they will gain something from the camp,” says V. Ganesan, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education and Consultancy Services.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 12:30:14 PM |

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