Students in Talbesi Secondary School of Tanahu, Shuklagandaki Rural Municipality – 9 maintain physical distance in their classroom in this recent photo. Photo: Santosh Pokharel/ Republica
POKHARA, Oct 3: It had been six months since Sakshyam Pathak of Tahanu had not entered his school. He terribly missed his friends and teachers. Just recently, the school administration announced resumption of classes but it said the children cannot be involved in extracurricular activities. Pathak was happy to see his friends after so long, but restrictions on games and sports have put him a bit off.
“It feels great to meet friends and teachers after so long. It was a long wait, but we cannot play with each other, social distancing has to be maintained,” he said.
The student of Talbesi Secondary School of Suklagandaki Municipality – 9 further stated that sports and other extra activities were not just for entertainment; they actually contribute significantly to children’s mental and physical health. “But amid this coronavirus pandemic, we understand that we have to compromise a few things,” he lamented.
Pathak is not allowed to sit close to his friends in the classroom. This has robbed students of side talk and fun as well. “However, it is still far better than not having to come to school entirely.”
“At other times we would cheat or hardly obey our teachers, but this time we know this distancing is for the good of ourselves, so we are serious about it,” he maintained.
A lot of other schools in the district have started to run classes with similar strict measures. Some schools have however continued with online classes only.
According to the principal of Pathak’s school, Dhruba Wagle, the school was opened for students two weeks ago though teachers were present there on and off. “Earlier we had reached out to the students through mobile teaching classes at different wards, but now we have resumed classes at the school. But of course we have imposed some strict measures in the view of the pandemic,” he said.
Kamala Secondary School of Rupa Kalika Municipality of Kaski has also been mulling over running physical classes. According to the chairperson of the school management committee, Bikash Khanal, the long gap has had adverse effects on children and it is important to address the issue. “We have also been running mobile classes for children. Teachers take care of students in their localities. However, hopefully we will run classes at the school soon,” he said.
Schools across the country were shut in March as the government imposed lockdown for the first time due to the pandemic. Online teaching soon became popular and this triggered a debate whether students have to pay full fees to the schools. As the country is struggling to get back to normalcy, there has not been uniformity among schools regarding physical or online teaching modules.