Schools Reopen In Kashmir After 31 Month Hiatus

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Smiles, Excitement As Students Return To Classrooms

Srinagar- All the government and private schools across Kashmir Valley reopened on Wednesday after a gap of 31 months in wake of back to back lockdowns.

In the first phase, the government reopened most of the high and higher secondary schools across Kashmir on February 14 and 15. Universities, colleges and other institutions were also re-opened for offline classes last month.

The yellow-coloured school buses could be seen filled with students on the way to their respective schools across the city and other parts of the valley. Due to the reopening of schools, many parts of the city witnessed traffic snarls.

However, in most of the parts the traffic was smooth and the cops could be seen regulating the traffic.

SSP Traffic City Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Observer that they had already communicated with the school administration regarding the streamlining of school buses during the peak hours.

Kids In New World, New Experience

In almost all schools, the students could be seen queued up for screening of body temperature as part of the standard operating procedure (SOPs). The schools had made all the arrangements for reopening by ensuring cleanliness and sanitisation of the premises.

The government had earlier ordered students above the age of 15 years to get fully vaccinated as to be allowed to attend in-person classes.

The students were excited and expressed their happiness to be back in their schools after a long time. They were neatly dressed in their school uniforms.

“It feels good to be in school after almost three years. I am very excited. I missed my teachers and being in the classroom,” said Mahila Qadri, a student of Walden School, Natipora, Srinagar.

Another student, Zainab Farooq told Kashmir Observer that they couldn’t study properly through online classes because of the poor internet connections usually.

“It feels nice to see our teachers teaching us face to face,” she said.

A parent serving traditional Tehri with a belief that bad times are ending

Apart from studying, I missed extra co-curricular activities that we used to do in school,” she added.

Many school buildings in the city were decorated with balloons and the teachers at many schools welcomed students by offering sweets to them.

Last week, the Director School Education in Kashmir (DSEK) conveyed to the staff to ensure that children are made to celebrate their return to schools.

Earlier, the Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) had stated that the first week of re-opening of schools will be celebrated as a week of happiness and sharing of experiences to enable students to start the session in a stress free environment.

The Association said that the last two years of closure of schools and pandemic situation has severely affected school children and apart from education they need emotional healing.

“These two years have been very tough for the entire society. We have to deal with so many problems and children are often the silent sufferers. So we have to keep in mind the psychological status of these children. They have to be gently made part of the school system again without overwhelming them,” said President PSAJK G N Var.

Binish Nisar, a student at the Presentation Convent Hr. Sec. School, Srinagar told Kashmir Observer that he missed his friends, school and teachers who would teach them with “full dedication”

“It’s like a new world today. We get to interact more in offline classes rather than online classes,” he said.

Another student from Walden School said being at home for so long was taking a toll on her mental health as they were unable to interact with others.

“While sitting at home for three years I came to realise that we should interact with other people,” she said.

The state executive committee (SEC) headed by Chief Secretary A K Mehta, in an order had said the heads of Institutions will be responsible for adherence of Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) in their respective schools and prepare proper plans for the same.

“Symptomatic students should not be allowed to attend school. No student should be allowed to attend school without a mask,” the order issued ahead of reopening of lower classes had stated.

Photos by Abid Bhat

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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