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Online-offline classes: Not an open and shut case?

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, APRIL 23: A little over two months after it ordered the reopening of schools in the State, the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has recently forced Nagaland Government to sanction a U-turn, as offline school sessions for Classes 1 to 8 have been shut once again.

In the meanwhile, students of Classes 9 and 10, Higher Secondary section and Colleges have been allowed to attend classroom sessions on the condition that all SOPs are strictly enforced and followed.
On Thursday evening, the Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur Rajesh Soundararajan issued an order to seal Holotoli School in Padumpukhuri, at the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Dimapur, Dr. Mereninla Senlem.
It was learnt that some of the school staff had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 22, after contact tracing. The school has advised parents to self-isolate the students for 10 days.
Earlier in the morning, one of the colleges in Dimapur had sent 5 of its students to the hospital for COVID-19 testing after they had come down with ‘minor flu’. All of them were staying at the girls’ hostel inside the college campus, it was learnt.
Till late Thursday evening, the college authorities said they were yet to receive the results.
Speaking to Nagaland Page, the Principal said that the college cannot take any decision before the results are confirmed.
“The matter is under consideration, for sure. Worst case scenario, we might have to revert to online classes for a while. But we are hoping it won’t come to that,” he said, adding that the students do not prefer online classes.
According to the Principal, the college has been conducting classes with 50% capacity of the classroom, two groups of students attending classes on alternate days.
The general secretary of the college’s students’ union told this newspaper that the situation was ‘very stable’ among the students.
“Unless they are tested positive, we would like the (offline) classes to continue. The students don’t have any objection,” he said.
According to him, even the college hostels were not accommodating students to its full capacity.
“There are only around 30-40 students combined, in both girls’ and boys’ hostels,” he said.
Nagaland Page reached out to some teachers in an attempt to get their views on the continuation of normal classroom sessions against the backdrop of rising COVID cases in the State.
A teacher at one of the Government Colleges, said that it depends on the respective college/institute. “For us, fortunately, it’s quite normal so far. We have very few students, so we don’t have any issues now,” she said.
With semester exams scheduled for May, she said, teachers as well as students are hurrying to complete the syllabus.
“At the same time, it doesn’t mean that we should not be careful. After all health comes first,” said Kikon.
Her views were echoed by Dr. Theyiesinuo Keditsu, who teaches at Kohima College. “It depends on the colleges’ infrastructure. For me, I teach in a Government college. We have a large number of students,” she said, adding that they also follow the 50% capacity-alternate days format.
Keditsu also pointed out that online classes are not feasible for everybody, especially those in the rural areas.

With a different school-of-thought was Pekingto Y Jimo, teacher at a Government school, who did not want classes to continue. “And I don’t mean the schools only. The entire educational institutions must be closed,” he said.
Jimo said that he’d rather “have an uneducated child alive”. He clarified that closure of schools and colleges doesn’t have to be for the entire year.
“But at least for a few weeks, I strongly suggest that we shut them down. For me, it (continuation of classes) is a big no,” Jimo asserted.
(Page News Service)