Happy students at Beni Secondary School who attended school after nine months. Photo: Hari Krishna Gautam
MYAGDI, Nov 30: Anushka Bhattachan, a sixth grader at Beni Secondary School, met her friends Asima KC and Roshna Chhahari for the first time in nine months. She was elated to have seen her classmates whom she could not meet due to the ongoing restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Anushka is not alone. All other students, who had stepped in the school after a hiatus of nine months, were busy finding their close friends in the school premises. “I am more than happy to have met our friends physically who were not available in the online classes,” said Anushka.
The atmosphere of school on the first day of the resumption classes amid continued threat of the pandemic was quite interesting. All students had brighter faces. They seemed to be enjoying their reunion. “It feels like homecoming even in the midst of this dreadful situation.I did not expect this,” said another student.
Most students believe that self-learning tools and virtual classes are not as effective as physical classes due to reasons such as unavailability of internet facility to communication gap created due to physical absence.
Dipak Shrestha, the head teacher at the school, said they resumed physical classes following the decision made by a joint meeting of the education committee of Beni Municipality, Municipal Education Committee and school management committees of the schools. “Despite COVID-19 fears, both students and teachers are found happy to meet each other after a long gap,” Shrestha said, adding that they had sent a commitment letter to all the parents asking them to exercise safety measures to contain possible spread of the pandemic.
Parents, on the other hand, have also focused on adopting health protocols and sending their children to school. They make sure that their children use face masks, apply hand sanitizer and wear face shields to avoid COVID-19 infection. Students were also given orientation about the necessary safety measures against the disease.
The municipal office is also concerned about ensuring safety against the pandemic, according to the chief administrative officer Chhabilal Subedi. He said that the schools are instructed to use thermal guns at the school entrance to take the body temperature of students and teachers, provide hand washing facility in the school premises, sanitize classes on a regular basis and closely inspect whether anyone at the school has developed coronavirus symptoms.
There are a total of 71 educational institutions within the municipality – 56 community schools, 12 institutional schools, one informal learning center, one religious school and one campus.