Most students have expressed great enthusiasm at the news of reopening of the educational institutions on September 12, after long 18 months of closure.
It has, without any doubt, brought a sigh of long awaited relief to the school and college goers, who were stuck in an awful uncertainty. Now, their stress and anxiety over their educational future is beginning to be relieved. Most of them are happy to return to attend lessons.
Many have washed their dusty uniforms while some have bought new kits as shoes or socks. A few are washing their long unused bags. It’s like going to school for the first time. They are, within a few hours, about to see their mates and start merry-making like old times. In a nutshell, the thrill is in the air for them.
TasmiaTabassum Tonni is a ninth grader at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Academy in Agargaon. She hasn’t set her foot in the school premises since it was announced closed on March 17, last year.
Lately, she has been quite busy shopping for school. A happy face of Tonni said, “I have tailored for a new set of uniform and purchased a pair of shoes. I am still to buy a few note books. It’s been so long, can’t wait any longer to see my classmates and have some chit chat with them.”
Md Rayhan is a HSC examinee of 2021 from Dhaka Imperial College. He has prepared well for the examination and doesn’t want to be promoted automatically like the 2020 batch. So, at the news of reopening of the educational institutions, he expressed delight.
He told Bangladesh Post, “My SSC result was not up to the mark. But, I have prepared well for the HSC examination. If we were to evaluate and promote automatically on the basis of SSC this time, it would be a dissatisfaction.”
“I am happy that examinations are going to be held in December, this year,” he added.
However, the guardians and a few note critiques, on the other hand, still cannot get out of the perturbation caused by the least existing Covid-19 pandemic threat. Most of them say, school and college goers are still left out of inoculation. As a result, parents are worried over the safety of their children.
Meanwhile, those students set to attend lessons physically in schools without being vaccinated may be exposed to greater risk of transmitting the virus, some experts fear.
According to the latest information, only students of 18 years of age and above are being jabbed. Around 337,000 students of university have been vaccinated, according to the statistical data of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on September 5.
In addition, the government is yet to decide on vaccinating students below 18. The Ministry of Health will take necessary steps to vaccinate students above 12 years of age, said the notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Wednesday. But, it is still unclear when the decision will come.
Md Humayun Kabir, a resident of Mirpur-12 in the capital has a son, a 4th grader at Paradise Kindergarten. He is concerned of the gathering children make at the school premises and the street food they consume.
Humayun told Bangladesh Post, “You cannot just make children understand the actual scenario and gravity of the hazard. It won’t be easy to keep these children away from their mates. Once they are together, they are engaged in playing. Moreover, the street foods they consume outside the school gate could even pose greater threats of coronavirus transmission. There will be hardly any social distancing and hygiene, I fear.”
In this regard, Aysha Israt, an Assistant Teacher of Sena Nibas Govt Primary School (Mirpur) told Bangladesh Post, “We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the children’s safety and hygiene, we have prepared like that as per the directives of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education.”
“Once we’re open, we can identify what’s more to be done. For now, we stick to the guidelines provided by the government. If we need to do something more, it’ll be notified as directives I guess,” she added.
Although the infection and mortality rate are on the decline as a result of mass vaccination, multiple lockdowns and health guidelines, the dreaded coronavirus has not yet left for good.
Thus, experts fear the transmission rate could go up again if the health guidelines are not maintained properly.
Prof Dr Md Nazrul Islam, Virology Specialist and former Chairman at the department of Virology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University told Bangladesh Post, “Education Minister earlier told us that they would open educational institutions once the infection rate gets below 10 percent. However, now the infection is around nine percent for a few days but we should not be satisfied. The virus is still here, though less spread. The children should be protected well and social distancing must be well maintained by the authority and guardians.”
Mentioning the hygiene, he said schools should ban the street foods at the entrance, while on the inside; the number of classrooms should be increased.
“The virus may become even stronger and hit the future generation along with us again, if hygiene rules are not properly maintained,” he warns.