Schools are reopening in Sudurpaschim Province following a long Covid-19 hiatusHealth officials warn reopening of schools is fraught with danger, even if they adopt health safety measures.
The majority of schools in Sudurpaschim Province have resumed classes following a long Covid-19 hiatus.
Earlier last month, the federal government endorsed a set of guidelines for schools to resume their classes. As per the guidelines, schools can reopen in coordination with and consent of the concerned local government.
“In Kanchanpur district, most of the schools have reopened from this week. Some of the schools resumed their classes from Wednesday,” said Rajendra Bhatta, section officer at the Education Development and Coordination Unit Office in Kanchanpur.
Himal Chand, spokesperson at Bhimdatta Municipality, said the local government decided to resume the classes after consulting the teachers and parents.
“The schools will follow health safety guidelines. If they are found violating the guidelines, they will have to face legal repercussions,” he said.
Chief District Officer of Kanchanpur Ram Kumar Mahato also said that schools have been allowed to reopen as per the guidelines set by the federal government.
Limiting the school hours, conducting classes in shifts and dividing the students into several groups are some of the options proposed by the Ministry of Education in order to reopen the schools.
However, health officials say the reopening of schools while the coronavirus cases are still surging is fraught with danger, even if they adopt health safety measures.
A school at Dashrath Chand Municipality in Baitadi reopened last week only to be shut down two days later when 19 individuals tested positive for the coronavirus. On Saturday, the municipal government imposed a 10-day lockdown to contain the outbreak.
Although the local governments in Kanchanpur have claimed that the decision to reopen schools was taken with the consent of parents, the parents’ body has said that it was not consulted.
“We were not informed about the matter,” said Bir Bahadur Chand, chairman of the Parents’ Association in Kanchanpur. “How can classes be resumed if we do not send our children to school?”
Schools are also reopening in the neighbouring district of Kailali.
In Dhangadhi, most schools resumed their classes from Sunday.
“We have told the school operators not to underestimate the health risk and to strictly follow health and safety measures and the government’s guidelines,” said Mahadev Joshi, chief at the Education Section of Dhangadhi Sub-metropolitan City.
Schools at Godabari Municipality and Ghodaghodi Municipality in Kailali have also reopened, the local government officials confirmed.
In Achham, both government and private schools have started conducting physical classes since last week.
“We have resumed classes in two shifts. We have made face masks mandatory and also told students to maintain social distancing,” said Devendra Dubbe, a school headmaster.
Schools in all nine local units of Darchula district have also reopened.
Jayaraj Pant, chief at the Education Development and Coordination Unit in Darchula, said the schools were allowed to open as per the guidelines issued by the federal government. “Schools have been reopened after the government allowed local units to run classes if the risk of Covid-19 is low,” he said.
There are 337 government schools and 19 private schools in the district.
“Since the students in remote areas do not have access to alternative modes of classes, they had had to reopen schools,” said Hemraj Joshi, chief at the Education Section of Duhu Rural Municipality.
Arjun Shah in Dhangadhi, Menuka Dhungana in Achham and Manoj Badu in Darchula contributed reporting.