Govt. school teachers express concern over impact on children
For many schools in the State, it is back to online classes from Monday when new set of COVID-19 restrictions come into effect. Under the new norms, in-person classes are not allowed for children up to Class VIII till January 10.
Schools had reopened for senior classes in Tamil Nadu from September 2021, and for primary and middle school classes from November 1 following a prolonged break owing to the pandemic.
The new restrictions and concerns over the Omicron variant have meant that most private schools are gearing up to begin online classes from January 3 till the restrictions are in force.
“We have already worked on a timetable which will be followed this week and parents have been suitably informed. Teachers are also being given the option to work from home since they will have access to faster internet connections than on the school premises where several teachers need to conduct classes at the same time,” said K. Manoharan, Principal, SBOA School and Junior College.
He said it was important at this stage for schools to take safety aspects seriously and that they were working on ensuring that standard operating procedures are strictly adhered to by students of senior classes and staff members who will continue to be on the premises.
Schools with a big strength of children in Classes I to VIII opted for a mixed learning module and had implemented shift systems — where classes were taking place both online and offline. “These schools will now revert to having classes online alone. Many schools like ours already had a timetable in place anticipating changes in the academic year and we will now enforce an online-only timetable for Classes 1 to VIII,” said Lakshmi Prabha, Principal, Prasan Vidya Mandir.
As far as the teachers were concerned, Ms. Prabha said that schools would take a decision based on the internet connectivity and infrastructure available on the premises.
Some private schools in the State which had not reopened for primary and middle school classes in November were now considering continuing with online classes for the month.
Government school teachers, however, are concerned that students might once again face the impact of possible learning loss.
The Tamil Nadu Teacher Association submitted a representation to the School Education Department and the Chief Minister. In its petition, the association said the schools should at least explore adopting a micro classroom model so that children could attend in-person classes at least once or twice a week in small batches.
“Primary and middle school students were just starting to settle down, getting midday meals and getting motivated about attending schools. We will not be able to take online classes for students since many of them do not have access to good internet connections or devices,” said association president P.K. Ilamaran.
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