The dangers of not reopening schools can be ignored, says parliamentary panel

The dangers of not reopening schools can be ignored, says parliamentary panel

NEW DELHI: The dangers of schools not reopening after a prolonged shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic are “too serious to be ignored”, according to a parliamentary panel.

The committee has noted that the closure of schools has not only had a negative impact on the social fabric of families, but has also increased the participation of children in household chores.

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“The closure of schools for more than a year has had a profound impact on the well-being of students, especially their mental health. The dangers of not opening schools are too serious to ignore. Young children confined within four walls home, being unable to go to school, has adversely changed the relationship between parents and children.” The closure of schools has had a negative impact on the social fabric of the family, leading to early/child marriages and the participation of children in the household increased. boring work. The current situation has exacerbated the learning crisis that existed even before the pandemic and was adversely affecting marginalized and vulnerable children. Keeping this situation in mind, opening of schools becomes even more urgent,” the panel noted.

This week the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports presented its report to Parliament, reviewing online and offline instructions and examinations, along with a plan to address the learning deficit caused by school lockdowns and then School to open” under the chairmanship of Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe.

The panel said that the gravity of the matter should not be ignored and a balanced and reasoned approach should be adopted to open the schools.

Promote vaccine programs for all students, faculty and allied staff so that schools can start operating normally as soon as possible; Conducting classes on alternate days or in two shifts to adhere to physical distancing and to dilute the students by wearing face masks at all times, frequent hand sanitization etc.; Routine thermal screening at the time of attendance and conducting random RT-PCR tests to quickly identify and isolate any infected student, teacher or staff are among the recommendations for reopening schools made by the panel.

“Each school should have at least two oxygen concentrators with trained personnel to deal with any incident and provide first aid till the availability of external medical aid. Frequent surprise inspections of schools by health inspectors and health workers to ensure strict adherence to hygiene and COVID protocols, the panel said.

“The best practices being adopted in different countries for opening of schools may be taken into account for taking an informed decision,” it said.

The panel has also noted that a learning loss of more than a year due to prolonged school closures in the wake of the pandemic would have undermined students’ basic knowledge, especially in mathematics, science and languages ​​at the school level. in subjects.

“This learning deficit is a major deficit and is likely to impact the cognitive abilities of students,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament on Friday.

“This can have a debilitating impact on the weaker sections of the society like poor and rural students, marginalized sections of society and young women who may be unable to connect to any kind of digital education during the pandemic. To address this and There is an urgent need to take remedial steps,” the report said.

Schools were closed across the country in March last year to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. While some states began partially reopening schools in October last year, they had to order closures again in April-May in view of the aggressive second wave of Covid-19.

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