The petition said that opening schools is like “playing with fire when we ought to douse it with full force”.

Petition says shut schools till COVID-19 vaccine found almost half a million sign
news Lockdown Wednesday, June 03, 2020 - 21:37

Almost five lakh people have signed a petition asking the government not to open schools until when the state has zero cases, or until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. A decision regarding when schools will be reopened is yet to be taken, but guidelines put out by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ state that it could be opened following consultations with state government and administrations of union territories, a decision regarding which will be taken in July. 

“Opening of schools in July will be the worst decision by the Government. It's insane. It's like playing with fire when we ought to douse it with full force. The parents should fight against this stupidity with tooth n nail, not a single child to be sent to the schools for their own safety (sic),” the petition states. 

The petition, addressed to Union Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ has already garnered over 4.8 lakh signatures at the time of writing, close to the 5 lakh signatures mark it is aiming for. 

The petition states that the current academic session, starting in June, should be continued online. “If the schools claim that they are doing a good job via virtual learning then why not continue it for the rest of the academic year,” it asks. 

You can view the petition here

MHA’s guidelines had said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) in consultation with the central ministries or departments concerned as well as other stakeholders to ensure physical distancing and to contain the spread of the virus, before educational institutions are opened up. 

The Karnataka government put out a proposed schedule to reopen schools in a staggered manner in the state, and sought feedback from stakeholders. As part of this proposal, classes 4-7 would open from July 1, Classes 8-10 and classes 1-3 would start classes from July 15 onwards, and nursery and pre-primary classes from July 20. The proposal also suggests that for physical distancing to be maintained, different timings could be allotted for different classes, or by asking children to come on alternate days. 

The move, however, hasn’t gone down well with parents, and many said that they will be unwilling to send their children to school even if they open up. 

Similarly, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reportedly said on Wednesday that learning is better in classrooms, especially for small children. “Whenever there is an opportunity where it is safe to open schools for children, we will do so. Online learning is a stop-gap measure, not a substitute for classroom education in any way,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, are mulling the reopening of schools in the coming months.

Read: Not safe to reopen schools in July: Parents unhappy with Karnataka govt proposal

COVID-19 lockdown: Andhra govt looks to reopen schools from August 3

What will Telangana schools look like when they re-open? Parents, teachers weigh options

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