Many top Lucknow schools reject option for partial reopening from September 21

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A number of schools in Lucknow have turned down the idea of partial reopening from September 21 and to call students on a voluntary basis to seek guidance from teachers.

They have no plan to reopen from this month despite the centre’s standard operating procedures provisioning for partial reopening of schools for students of classes 9 to 12.

La Martiniere College, La Martiniere Girls’ College, St Agnes/ Loreto Day School, St Teresa’s Day School, Hoerner College and a few others will continue to remain closed and carry on with their online classes. If students have any doubts they may get it cleared from teachers during online interactive classes.

La Martiniere College principal Carlyle McFarland said, “We are not opening on September 21 because safety of our students is important.”

La Martiniere Girls’ College principal Aashrita Dass said there was no plan for partial reopening this month. “We are happy to continue with online classes, where teachers are available to clear students’ doubts,” she said.

St Agnes’ Loreto principal Debra Bunny said, “I don’t think it is required to reopen school partially, as the Covid-19 cases are on the rise. Teachers are taking extra classes online to help students. Practical work is impossible as it requires 25 students to work together in a lab.”

Hoerner College principal Mala Mehra said, “Unless the corona cases subside to a considerable number, we are not reopening our school. If the situation eases in October, we may then reopen after Diwali.”

St Teresa’s Day School would remain closed in September, said Peter Fanthome Jr, principal of the school. “These are extraordinary times and one has to be cautious. We cannot risk the lives of our students,” he said.

But there are schools like Loreto Convent, Study Hall, Christ Church College and St Joseph’s group of institutions which are eager to open their different branches.

Loreto Convent principal Anima Kujur said, “Only students of Classes 10 and 12 will be called if they have any doubts. But they will have to bring a written undertaking from their parents.”

Study Hall CEO, Urvashi Sahni said, “Our students are eagerly waiting to come back to school. We have informed parents that it is voluntary and if they want to send their wards for practicals they may do so.”

“We will follow all SOPs, including written permission from parents. All social distancing protocol will be followed. Students will be called for a limited duration and will be made to sit at a safe distance from each other,” said Anil Agarwal, manager of the school and president of unaided private schools association, UP.

Christ Church College principal Rakesh Chattree and Pioneer Montessori School principal Sharmila Singh are ready to reopen their schools as per the centre’s guidelines to clear doubts of the students.

However, many of the parents are not keen to send their kids to school given the spike in corona cases. Varsha Singh refused to send her son (who is in Class 10) to school even if it reopened. Deepak Agarwal, whose son is in Class 9 in a CBSE school, has no plan to send his son to classes this month.

Schools and educational institutions in UP have been closed since mid March when the pandemic started spreading across the country. Since then, online classes are being conducted, and will continue for the time being.