Kerala

Parents resigned to shift to online classes

While the government decision to return to online classes for students from classes 1 to 9 for two weeks from January 21 has sparked calls from a section for a rollback, parents are resigned to it, and feel there is no other remedy in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant.

The president of the parent-teacher association of a prominent aided school says the government machinery could not have taken any other decision. In any case, schools were following the blended learning mode, with only 50% students attending school on a given day, and the rest attending online classes. Hopefully, the decision to cancel in-person learning for younger students would not extend beyond two or three weeks. The vaccination for students in the 15-18 age group that is under way would also help keep older students safe.

The decision was needed, says the president of the parent-teacher association of a government school who is also a teacher. Students, he says, are getting COVID-19 from teachers and other staff and then taking it back home to their families. Quite a few COVID-19 cases are being reported in schools, especially as activities are on in full swing. Remote online learning, despite its limitations, is a better option at this juncture, though he would have preferred that the decision was taken a few days down the line.

A parent of a class 3 student of the same school says there has been a positive change in her child since she began attending school, and would have preferred in-person learning to continue, but with the case graph increasing, especially in Thiruvananthapuram, a switchover to online classes is better at this stage. Though young children do not get infected easily, some parents remain anxious, especially those who have wards with low immunity, she points out, hoping that the shift to online lessons does not get prolonged beyond two or three weeks.

The number of COVID-19 cases being reported among teachers and students in schools cannot be ignored, says the headmaster of a girls’ school in the city. Nor the fact that many other States too have resorted to the same strategy. The government decision is apt to control the spread of COVID-19. The number of students coming to school had started tapering even before the government announcement, indicating parents’ apprehension. Despite the many benefits of offline classes, there was need to adapt to the evolving situation.

A school Principal says she has not heard any opposition to the decision from parents of her students. Parents of younger children, she feels, remain apprehensive about sending them to school. Even before Omicron, the same set of students, more or less, turned up for offline classes. There were many students who had not attended physical classes even once since November. While the numbers were better for students set to appear for Class 10 and 12 examinations, the attendance for offline classes was poor among many grades.


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Printable version | May 29, 2022 10:46:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/parents-resigned-to-shift-to-online-classes/article38278978.ece