Kerala kids expect schools to reopen soon; Govt to seek expert panel opinion

Health experts tell Kerala Govt it is time to open schools

The pandemic-induced shut down of educational institutions has impacted school kids, especially primary students, in an unprecedented manner. Lack of opportunity to mingle with children of their age has already left many in a state of utter boredom and depression. With public spaces like parks and other entertainment avenues lying shut, the children have been through a worrisome phase.

In Kerala, the situation has been a cause for concern with children giving up hope of a school-reopening anytime in the near-term. The staggering rise in Covid-19 numbers has also turned a hassle. However, a statement from the government a while ago, has suddenly turned it into a matter of serious discussion.

General Education Minister V Sivankutty sent feelers to the public saying that he expects to see schools reopening soon. According to him, an expert committee will be constituted to look into the possibility of reopening schools. If the committee finds it practical to throw open classrooms to students, it is likely that children will be able to go back to their schools very soon.  The Education Minister’s statement seems to have come as a follow up to the health experts’ opinion that schools may be reopened.

Numbers not worrisome; open economic, social sectors: Experts

A group of health sector experts had met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday to evaluate the Covid-19 situation, and they were of the opinion that there was nothing to worry about the numbers going up. They had added that the number of patients admitted being very less at the moment is a good sign and that it was time for economic and social sectors to open up.

Apart from losing out on the chance of mingling with peers, many students think that online classes are switching off their priorities and focusing on only studies all the time. They prefer going to school and attending classes, though a section of parents are a bit hesitant about the whole thing owing to the risk of their kids contracting the disease. However, experts believe just the opposite.

They are of the opinion that children who stay at home never wear masks, thereby increasing the risk of infection from inside their homes. On the contrary, they add, when children go to school, masks become mandatory and that will help to cut down the risk of contracting the illness.  

According to a section of academics, primary school students need to go to school as they are in their formative years. What they learn in a physical classroom under the attention of teachers would help in the long run, they believe.

It now depends on whether the proposed expert committee would take all this into consideration and recommend the reopening of schools. Ensuring Covid-19 protocols while allowing schools to function would be an ideal way of making it possible. With schools in other parts of the country having started functioning, Kerala would also try and look at whether it would be practical to do the same in the state.

All said, the news that there is a chance of schools reopening in the near future has made many a toddler in Kerala smile. They just hope they would soon get to see their classrooms and hang around with friends in the school campuses.

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