NOIDA/LUCKNOW: In seven months, the corner of the classroom where they huddled together to discuss chemistry notes had changed. They could no longer whisper to each other behind the teacher’s back — they were sitting so far apart, and would have to speak through a mask.
The familiar “guard uncle”, who would sit on a stool in one corner as they rushed for their classes, stopped each of them to check their temperatures, dressed in a PPE kit. It was no longer the school they had left in March. It resembled a hospital, and smelt like one too. School was back in session on Monday, seven long months after the lockdown sent the academic year onli ne, across the state.
It was mostly government schools that opened — for classes IX to XII. Private schools are expected to gradually follow suit, though it’s parents’ opinion that will decide when. A majority of parents have told schools they are not comfortable sending their children to school and exposing them to the pandemic.
Parents’ unease reflected in Monday’s attendance. Less than 9% students enrolled between classes IX and XII across UP were present on the first day. UP has 1 crore students in these classes. Of them, 8.5 lakh students came to class.
In Noida and Ghaziabad, attendance was slightly higher, hovering between 10% and 20% on an average. But student turnout varied widely from school to school and classroom to classroom. Noida DM Suhas LY said he had held a webinar last week to instruct all schools about the safety protocols that needed to be followed.
“We have introduced all protocols to the schools. But sending their children for classes depends entirely on the parents,” he added. However, none of the 135 CBSE schools in Noida opened on Monday.


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