Schools in Haryana opened for Classes 9 to 12 on Friday following strict COVID-19 norms, with many students saying online education, although necessitated by the pandemic, is not a substitute to classroom teaching. The schools remained closed in the state for three months amid COVID-19.

With the dip in the number of coronavirus cases, Haryana government last week announced reopening of schools for Classes 9 to 12. However, it is not mandatory for students to come to school as online classes are continuing, officials said.

Students are allowed to join classes only with written permissions from parents.

Students of classes 6 to 8 will also be able to attend school from July 23 as the state government has decided to open the institutions in a phased manner, an official spokesperson had said earlier.

Detailed guidelines and SOP have been issued by the state education

While school timings have been curtailed, only one student now is allowed to sit on a desk, and sharing food or stationery items is prohibited. A gap of at least six feet has to be maintained between two students, and desk will bear name tags of students where they have to sit, according to the guidelines.

Thermal scanning and hand sanitisation of students is to be done at the entrance of the school. Masks are to be checked, and provisions have to be made to provide one if a student is found not wearing a face cover, the officials said.

To ensure social distancing, schools will function only at 50 per cent student strength at a given time, and students will be called on rotation, they added.

No substitute to physical classes: students

The students, meanwhile, said they were happy to be back in school.

A Class 9 student told PTI, “While in the pandemic, online education was being imparted, but there can be no substitute to physical classes. We are immensely happy to be back to our school where we can freely interact with our teachers, ask as many questions and clear our doubts. Besides, one feels happy to meet our friends after a long time.”

Another student in Gurgaon said, “We are happy that schools have resumed. Individual attention is given in a physical classroom environment while online education has its limitations. Also, the internet connectivity is not good on occasions which causes problems while using mobile or desktop for long hours causes eye strain to many.”

Many teachers also said they were happy to see their students back in school after a long time.

“Teaching in a physical classroom is always easy. Moreover, there are some subjects where students are able to comprehend better in a regular classroom environment… We hope the Covid situation improves as the past more than a year has been quite tough for students as well as teachers,” a teacher of a Gurgaon school said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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