Ringing School Bells

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Dear Editor,
I would like to express my views about the opening of schools and colleges after long closure due to COVID-19 through the medium of your esteemed daily newspaper. A wave of joy, appreciation and a general sigh of relief was heaved all across the length and breath of Union Territory of Jammu-Kashmir when the Government announced the reopening of schools. This is probably the first winter parents are glad to hear of school being reopened. The schools were closed last year in March 2020 in order to reduce spread and save some lives by going into complete lockdown. Closing educational institutions sounded right because they host a huge crowd of knowledge-seekers and a single carrier would have intensified a huge number of families all at the same time making the infection curve grow exponentially. Also children are seen as the future of every society and as such the protective instincts override all logic and reason. The issue was not merely the closure of schools due to COVID-19 but the fact that our kids have been sitting at home since August 5, 2019 in Kashmir division. The students of UT of Jammu-Kashmir faced a lot of problems like ban on high speed internet services and some poor parents were unable to afford smart phone for online classes. Without any formal education, socialisation or fun, phone connections schools or internet it has been a difficult task for families to keep their young ones entertained. These long periods of being confined at home have taken a toll on everyone and the boredom. As COVID-19 pandemic weakened the Government was rather quick to announce the reopening and ringing bells of schools and colleges. I hope that such a decision came about after careful consideration of all the pros and cons.
Regardsless of this, the news was received positively across the length and breadth of UT of Jammu-Kashmir as many students have been deeply disturbed by sudden halt of their educational pursuit.
Even though the method of online education is steadily gaining momentum across India a majority of students, especially those who belongs to low income households cannot afford such an opportunity due to financial constraints and lack of technogical resources and whole UT students are not able to afford high speed internet services since August 5, 2019.
The threat of the virus spreading after educational institutions open cannot be taken lightly. Even though both the Central and States government have constantly reiterated the importance of following SOPs, it is important for them to devise separate procedure for students of different ages. Last but not least the citizens need to take equal responsibility in complying with protocols and therefore apart from wearing masks outdoor need to avoid public gathering.
Mool Raj,
Doda.

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