We’re all set to welcome our secondary school students back to in-person classes!
I thought it might be useful to outline the steps we are taking to ensure that the return of students to face-to-face schooling will be safe and smooth. Of course, things will change as we and the government learn and change how we operate, but this is where we stand currently.
Can I say at the outset how much we are all looking forward to having students back on campus? It is clear that while distance learning allows students to continue on their learning journey, it is neither as effective nor as enriching as face-to-face learning within a student community. The other day, I had a query about school uniforms from a parent whose child had moved from one section of the school, which has a uniform, to the next level, which does not. It served as a poignant reminder of what we have all missed.
In making our plans, we took into account the government SOPs, the BMC guidelines, the constraints of our building and the way it operates. We are using temperature checks, parental checks and permissions, cleaning, regular sanitizing, mandatory masks, social distancing and student bubbles to maximize safety. All of our faculty, administrative staff and support staff are vaccinated, and we are confident that we can keep our students’ safe while at school.
We will start with a limited number of students on campus, no more than 100 at any one time and limit their time on campus to a few hours each day. The Maharashtra government has allowed Grades 8-12 to attend school, and we have come up with a schedule that gives all students the option of a significant face to face experience. And if everyone in the B.D. Somani community supports us by adhering to established safety protocols; it will go a long way to ensuring a successful return to school.
As we have to manage distance and face-to-face learning simultaneously, we are ensuring that all faculty can deliver their distance learning modules from school and stream all face-to-face lessons to those not able to be in school. We have had the faculty in school for three days last week and will continue to have faculty on campus from now on. We used this time to check our entry and exit systems, train our faculty on the challenge of managing face-to-face and distance learning simultaneously and enjoyed renewing our sense of community.
The government has suggested that grades 1-7 will also be allowed on campus soon, possibly as early as November. So we are planning for that and looking forward to learning the lessons of the next few weeks to bring the younger students back on campus successfully. This will include the opportunity for our very youngest students to visit their classrooms and the school for the first time. What a wonderful occasion that will be! It has been a long 18 months.