Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Bhubaneswar: Jubilation amid caution marked the mood as schools in Odisha opened doors to Class X and XII students on Friday after a hiatus of over nine months due to the Covid-19 induced restrictions.

While the students were euphoric to be back in their classrooms after a long wait to catch up with teachers and friends, school authorities welcomed the boys and girls with bated breath as the fear of infection still looms large. Parents too, though were anxious while leaving their wards at the school gate, were happy over the fact that the ‘real’ studies had begun.

The reopening of school has evoked enthusiastic response among students who were tired of the long gap and limitations of online education. Most of them said they were excited to be meeting their classmates and teachers after a protracted wait.

“I am happy that schools have reopened as studies were getting badly affected. Most of the children studying in government schools do not have smartphones to join online studies. Our syllabus is lagging behind and we will have to work harder to cover it,” said Jasaswini Gahana, a student from the Baladevjew High School in Kendrapara.

“Online studies can’t substitute the class room. Personal interaction between teachers and students is very important for education. We are excited to be back in the class rooms again,” said a student from the Sai International School in Bhubaneswar.

Teachers too seemed happy to be able to take physical classes again.

“It is good that our students are back in the classroom once again. Over the past 7-8 months we would come to the school but there were no physical lectures. That was frustrating. Now that the physical classes have resumed, we will try hard to finish the syllabus within 100 days and take care of the mental aspect of the students. Covid-19 guidelines will be strictly followed in the school,” assured Krushna Chandra Tripathy, Headmaster at the Baladevjew High School.

Parents too expressed their happiness over the reopening of schools and said they had been waiting for the moment since long.

Attendance, however, remained thin in most of the schools as many parents were apprehensive of sending their wards to the educational institutions.

“We are concerned about the safety of our children. We can’t risk their lives by sending them to the school until the vaccination is carried out,” said a parent in Bhubaneswar.

A detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been adopted for reopening of all government, government-aided and private schools across the State.

As per the SOP, The students of standards X and XII will be given 100 days of classroom teaching before they appear the annual examinations in May. The classes will be held on Saturdays and Sundays too.

The annual board exam of Class X students will be conducted from May 3-15, while the Council of Higher Secondary Education will hold exams for Class XII students from May 15 to June 11.