Dilemma of Students, Re-opening of Schools in Covid-19 Pandemic

June 25, 2020

Education Minister of Karnataka has relentlessly worked to conduct the SSLC examination from 25-06-2020 taking all precautions during this crisis ridden time without compromising with the safety of the students. He deserves all praise for this bold step which will be commended by the people of Karnataka in particular and nation in general. The precautions taken for the SSLC Exam to be held from 25th June is impeccable and commendable.

The woes of the students from underprivileged and slow learning backgrounds were well understood by the Government. By banning the online classes the Govt. of Karnataka have made a level playing field for all the students. The parents and their wards who could not afford to have laptops, Android phones and internet connectivity heaved a sigh of relief when they heard about banning the online classes.

Right from the ancient ages, a child had to get his/her formal education in Gurukuls, not at home. The virtual online classes can never be a substitute for classroom teaching. The fact is that without the teacher, a student cannot concentrate on his/her studies which have a vital role to play in grooming the child. We cannot curtail a student’s school life for a long period. There are five areas of development like creativity, language, cognitive, social and emotional and physical development. Without going to the school for nearly 6 months or so what would be the present mental condition of a student? How the students would feel when they did not have access to their long-time associates in the school? What agony do they undergo when they are deprived of meeting their classmates whom they consider as their friends of life? Only the Psychologists can better analyse it. No educationist in the world ever said that schooling is not very essential. But, yes in the present scenario of Covid-19 pandemic we need to revisit these matters carefully bearing in mind the safety of the children. Apparently, no parent would risk sending their children to the school when the atmosphere is not conducive to learning. But how long can we continue like this? The Government with the help of child psychologists and teachers must find a way out right now and the schools to be reopened at the earliest. If not in one go; a staggered approach can be adopted wherein the Class X may be opened in the beginning and thereafter rest of the classes in a phased manner.

Think about the pathetic condition of any unaided schools in Karnataka. They did not get the reimbursement of RTE students’ for the last 2 years. They could not collect the pending fees for the last academic year from the parents. The present year’s fees they could not collect because of the government order. Parents are not ready to pay the fees when the date for reopening is not certain. At the same time, their liabilities creep on. Teachers’ salary has to be paid whether the schools function or not. All the other commitments have to be fulfilled in regard to expenditure. Hence it would be a solace for all stakeholders including the students if the schools reopen at the earliest without compromising the students’ safety.



By Nisha Kiran
Nisha Kiran is a correspondent with Bertrand Russell School, Baikampady and Quilriya English Medium School, Surathkal. She holds a double MA, BEd, MBA degree.
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Comment on this article

  • Vinod Megarvalli, Hassan

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    Having known the committed and focused work that Nisha Kiran Ma'am has put in across the last 2 + decades and the meticulous way she led the building of Temples of Learning in Mangalore, Hassan and Kodi, I read this article with keen interest!

    As a rank outsider to this domain, IMHO, there are four major stakeholders here; I also endeavor to pen my thoughts on what is to be done by each group in the present stern environs:

    1) THE STUDENT - needs to continue the learning process, be looked after, coached as much as possible on a face-to-face / up-close manner, be absolutely assured of safety and security wrt to Covid.

    2) THE PARENT/GUARDIAN - needs to know the POA, including the costs and revised learning structure, to be co-opted onto the strategy, to be a key partner in every sense, to have zero shocks/surprises along the way.

    3) THE SCHOOL AUTHORITIES - TEACHING (Principal, Headmistress/Headmaster, Faculty Members), NON-TEACHING (Management, Correspondent, Admin Staff), SUPPORT (Vendors, Suppliers, Drivers etc..) - need to be VERY clear on - new room design with adequate separation, no. of students per class, rostering (for example, two shifts of 7:30 AM to 1 PM, 1:30 PM to 7 PM), additional number of personnel needed to manage, costs involved, revised fee structure to be adopted and communicated, purchase of PPE, medical supplies etc, availability of hospital assistance, use of modern teaching aids, remaining contact-less to the extent possible, ensuring physical well-being of students through 'safe' outdoor sports & games , transport management . . . in fact, an endless list!

    4) THE MINISTRY/DEPARTMENT/LOCAL ADMINISTRATION BODIES : easily the MOST CRITICAL - need to show speed, empathy, compassion, solidarity & collaboration with the three groups above. Offer poor vision, support & leadership; and the whole edifice of education could, God forbid, come crumbling down! No divisive thinking here PLEASE; our daughters & sons are tomorrow's RULERS!!

  • Harshidha, Krishnapura

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    I agree with madam Nisha Kiran.
    We should think about the future of our students. School is a very essential part of every child. Online classes cannot be a substitute for school.
    So the school must reopen with precautionary measure.
    And it is also true that no one there to listen to the difficulties of private school or the teachers.

  • Thanvi, Kulai

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    The words expressed by Ms. Nisha Kiran Mam is truely remarkable and had expressed each bit of the problems that as raised during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The online classes will not give in the actual environment of learning and gaining knowledge. Students get stressed out and go to depression. Considering the mental health of students I strongly believe that with all the precautions as advised by the govt during COVID-19, it would better help the students to learn back in safe open environment where they could interact better for better understanding as well as solution to students at rural areas who can’t afford the internet due to various problems.

  • Sejal, Chitrapura

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    Schools should not open until we know how to deal with Covid, there are many alternatives for education. Online e-learning is going fine. I hope teachers are also comfortable with the online classes,as they too have family to take care of.

    It's not only about students here we should also think about the teachers.

    1. What if the teachers are infected? Who will bear the treatment charges if she or he is the only earning member of the family.

    2. How sure are the parents who are requesting to reopen the school,that their kids will keep up social distance and follow all the regulations.While I see adults neglecting it the most.

    3. Also, is the career of a child more important than the health?

    Conclusion: We have technology that have taken over structures of schooling.
    Like other countries, we can also follow Modular scheduling or Home schooling.
    Kids use mobile phones to play various games or for the entertainment purpose.However,if we as a parent guide them; I am sure they can prepare for their academic year with the support of the respective educational institutes.

  • Shwetha, Panambur

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    I strongly believe that we all are well aware of covid -19 pandemic . school re-opening is one of the most important task for all in the society. "I think the real issue here is the very important bond of trust between school and family.so taking precautionary measure and proper well arranged maintained school environment for covid -19 is essential. Than smoothly school can reopen as usual.

  • Jyothy, Baikampady

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    Very practical and matured inputs from Nisha Kiran.
    High school and SSLC classes should start with the strict guidelines of social distancing. We can make only 30 students per class room and no extra activities
    Break in learning cycle will effect psychology of students.
    Sincere request in govt , to may sectirs govt has announced compensation ,but private school teachers and staff are in jeopardy now. Teaching and non teaching staff have their own families and commitments like personal loan, other loans.
    Govt should announce compensation for private schools also.
    Let daiji world take it this matter to concerned officials and help the private schools.
    Request in Daiji world to reach this to Education minister Mr Suresh, a humble person and We are sure that he will extend some help.

  • Shanthi Pinto, Jaby

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    It's well explained mam. Yes schools should reopen as early as possible. If the children don't come to school they will not develop the spirit of friendship, team spirit and many such things where only school atmosphere can provide. Virtual learning cannot give all such things.

  • Dhulekha Liyakath Ali, Kulur

    Sat, Jun 27 2020

    It is true that Covid19 is pandemic, meanwhile we should also think about the future of our children.School is a living environment for students. It is true that online classes can never be a substitute for classroom teaching.students get experential learning from classroom..and no one is there to listen to the difficulties of private school nor the Teachers..even they too have families
    Re-opening Schools could be right option and I agree schools have to re- open with precautionary measures..

  • Afzal M, Bangalore

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    Very well articulated by Madam Nisha Kiran highlighting the current state of affairs of our educational institutions and the dilemma they are facing due to pandamic; especially schools.
    While the govt has taken commendable measures to address underlying issues but as mentioned in this article there is lot more to be done. At district level, the administration should take cognizance of aforesaid problems faced by the schools and create a panel by engaging teachers and formulate a plan with regards to reopening of schools and way forward.

  • Lalith, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    I agree schools have to reopen with precautionary measures and educate the students about safety measures.

  • Vani, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    All the parents may be afraid to send their children to school because of the fear they have in their mind. But parents are sending children to tuitions, parents are going to office ,public places.There are chances of spreading this disease in these places too.Why all are thinking that only in schools it will spread?
    Even school teachers are also human beings and they will take care of the children more than their parents.I think education is child's basic right and all are denying that right to a child.

  • Prajna, Kasaragod

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    In the present scenario of Covid 19 pandemic we all think about our safety. At the same time while thinking about education most of the parents may think " is it safe for my child to go back to school? "
    If child cannot go to school for a longer time psychologically it effects the child. I agree with madam Nisha Kiran, it effects on child's development.
    Students may not be able to focus / concentrate on their studies because of long breaks and they may get distracted easily. Students may forget what they have been learnt. With the movies and video games they slip away from study habits and they get bored quickly from so much time not learning.
    One more side I saw most of the educated people not taking safety measures and giving chance to spread the virus. Most of the educated people behave like uncivilized and irresponsible eventhough matured. So come to high school students If the School reopen earliest children meet their friends chances are there that they may forget the social distancing . Teachers can keep a eye on students but how long???
    School can reopen with lot of safety measures.

  • myna, mysuru

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    The panic situation that is acting as a deterrent to parents to send their children to school is the treatment in hospitals given to COVID 19 patients, the lack of hospital beds, the manner in which cremation of COVID patients is carried out, etc are circulated in the social media and the Press. Unless this fear is erased from the minds of citizens/parents would find it very difficult to send their children to school. At the moment sending the child to school would be exposing them to contact COVID 19 virus which no parent would like to gift to their dear ones and ultimately bring it on themselves.

  • Shyamala, Derebail

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    All of us know that covid-19 is pandemic, but at the same time we should think about the studies of our children too. As a mother I feel that my child's health is important, at the same time I should think that how my child is psychologically effected by sitting at home.
    So let the Government think about re-opening of the school with precautionary methods.

  • Vijay, Baikampady

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    There is a confusion on school reopening. As pointed out by Smt Nisha, the SSLC classes should start off as the career of students is also important. SSLC students are matured enough to understand about hygiene, social distancing. The learning cycle should not be called off for period more than 5-6 months for them.
    Primary classes can be commensed after the covid 19 flattens, with lot of safety measures as children below 12 years donot understand social distancing.
    As SSLC is a stepping stone, classes shud start with 2 students per desk, hygiene and social distancing. No group discussion, no outdoor/ indoor games.
    Govt. Should also understand the plught of private schools and help the school financially for time being as teachers, clerks, non teaching staff needs to be paid as they also families.

  • GEETHA, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    I totally agree with madam Nisha Kiran. What she says is right,If the school doesn't open for a long time psychologically it will effect the child.As a teacher I can give examples of my own students,how they miss their friends ,teachers etc.Even a LKG child is missing his/her friends and any how they try to communicate with his/her friend.
    What she said about the struggle of private schools and teachers are really appreciable.No one is there to listen to the difficulties of private schools or teachers,even Government doesn't think about them.So atleast let this article be a wake up call to everyone.

  • Ashwini, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 26 2020

    Considering the current pandemic, it definitely isn’t safe to send children to school unless the schools and the government takes necessary precautions. Having said that, we also know that in India there are still a lot of children who cannot afford to go to school. Yet, there are a lot of government schools which provide free education to the underprivileged which definitely helps those families who cannot afford a child’s education. So, if the schools do not open on time it affects this part of the country too wherein students are not as privileged as the rest of us who can attend online classes as conducted by the schools and colleges as of now. Also, as mentioned in this article, students here are not really exposed to virtual learning thus leading to distraction and lack of interest in learning. I personally feel schools must be reopened also taking into consideration the safety of students.

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