Mixed feelings among students ahead of reopening of schools

Suhail Bhat
SRINAGAR, Mar 1: Even though the administration is set to reopen schools in the Valley after a long hiatus, the students have mixed feelings about the decision, with some excited to return to class and others baffled.
The schools, which are set to resume offline classes on March 2nd, have been closed for nearly two years, confining children to their homes. The schools were first closed due to security concerns in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, and later due to COVID-19.
Zainab, a fourth-grade student, had been anticipating the reopening of the schools since she first heard about it. “I really miss my classmates. We learn more at school, and home schooling is difficult,” she added.
She has completed all of the necessary preparations, including purchasing a new uniform and other accessories. “Everything is ready, and I am eager for the day to end so that I may return to school. I hope that the administration sticks to its decision, ” she said.
She claimed that since traditional schooling was replaced by virtual learning, the majority of her friends had skipped classes. “The students learned nothing from the online classes, and they also have to pay to private tuitions,” she claimed.
Unlike Zainab, Mohammad Umar, a 6-year-old student, does not want to go to school because he is content with just attending tuition classes. “I have grown accustomed to working from home and attending coaching classes. I have also passed two classes outside of school. The schools should remain closed, as we get more time to play,” he remarked.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the students have been glued to their phones, playing video games, and watching movies, and that has increased their dependency on devices for online schooling and entertainment. It has impacted their eyesight as a result of their screen usage. “Offline classes will now be less taxing on children’s eyes. They won’t have enough time to use cell-phones,”, Mohammad Iqbal, a parent, said.
He, however, maintained that they would only take their children to school after ensuring that they wore masks at all times and followed all other COVID-19 SOPs (SOPs). “Screen time was damaging our children’s health, and we are relieved that they will be returning to school. To minimize similar interruptions, all parents should follow SOPs,” he said.
According to the teachers, children have been affected by longer periods of online learning, and transition to offline mode will be an issue for them initially. “This is the most difficult task for us since kids have got reliant to online education and many students have become accustomed to it,” Sabrena, a teacher, explained.
In a message, the Director of School Education in Kashmir (DSEK) urged to create an environment of festivity in classrooms. “Let us break the ice by announcing that there will be more play and fun this week. Schools have been instructed to arrange one-on-one counseling sessions with students, with each student receiving approximately 10 minutes, “the message reads.
According to the Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK), the first week of school reopening should be “celebrated as a week of delight.” “We have a whole year for education, Let us enjoy the first week of school reopening as a major party,” it states.