KATHMANDU: Sophie Neupane of Jorpati Kathmandu studies in Grade 10 at the Winsome English Boarding School in Kathmandu.
Her school was closed with the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Her classes, which were running virtually for more than four months, have resumed abiding health safety measures from Thursday.
Though the virtual class was better than ‘no class’, she missed her school’s classroom and her friends. Though the teaching-learning was going on, she did not find the virtual classes very effective.
Now Sophie’s school has resumed from November 30. Sophie and her friends are studying in their classroom after eight months. She is delighted to sit and read together with her friends once again.
“Considering the cases of coronavirus pandemic hiking of late, I had nearly lost the hope that we could get a chance to read in the school this way this year,” Sophie told Khabarhub, “They (school management) have taken enough precaution against the pandemic and have called us back to school, we are so happy.”
Sophie’s friend Kalpana Neupane was also equally elated getting a chance to join the school class formally.
“Our elder brothers and sisters did not get a chance to attend SEE last year,” Kalpana said, “With the reopening of school, we are hopeful we will not be disturbed much.”
Despite the students’ happiness, a considerable factor is the coronavirus pandemic case which has retained its terror rule still far from coming into human control.
What has the school done to ensure the children are not exposed to further risks of coronavirus transmission?
Bandana Chhetri, Vice Principal of the school claims that the school has abided by all health safety measures to prevent the coronavirus pandemic.
The school is running Grade 11 and Grade 12 in the morning shift whereas the students from Grade 6-10 go to school during the daytime. Chhetri informed that the school has been running the classes of Math, Science and Social Studies.
“We had been running virtual classes for last five months,” she told Khabarhub, “Considering the students and guardians’ request for resuming classes in normal classes, after discussing with the municipality, we decided to resume school.”
She informed us that each class has been divided into five groups and only two students sit on each bench ensuring social distance.
“We have arranged for sanitizer and masks in the school,” she added, “There is a hand sanitizer in each class and the students who come without a mask are provided masks. We also disinfect the classrooms after school.”
According to the Department of Education, even though teaching was done through virtual media during the lockdown, the educational institutions are opening gradually now.
According to Madhav Prasad Dahal, the information officer at DoE, the schools have started operating following the health safety standards against coronavirus pandemic.
“The schools of the rural areas and with the areas with fewer cases of coronavirus and resumed operation a few months back, the schools of major cities are still in dilemma, yet, they have chosen to run classes at the school with the physical presence of both the teachers and students,” Dahal told Khabarhub.
He added that more than 80 percent of the schools outside Kathmandu Valley have already resumed the classes.
Some schools open while others undecided
After getting the authority to decide on the schools, the local levels are working actively on the modality to resume formal classes at school with the physical presence of both the teachers and the students. More schools are opening every day.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City has intensified consultation with the stakeholders of late.
Health experts, academicians, and school operators are divided into the pros and cons of opening schools amid the pandemic.
The Department of Education of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City says that the schools can be resumed after consultation with health experts, educationists, and other stakeholders.
In the meantime, some of the municipalities of Kathmandu have notified that in those local levels the schools are open now.
Kageshwori Manohara Municipality says that it has reiterated in the earlier resumption of schools as most of the students do not have access to the internet and the quality of internet service is not much stable as well.
Similarly, the schools of Gokarneswor and Dakshinkali municipalities are also open now. Other municipalities have also started working on the modality that can ensure health safety and the resumption of classes smoothly.