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Mixed feelings for parents as Indian schools in Oman begin to reopen with in-person learning

Oman Monday 03/January/2022 22:19 PM
By: Times News Service
Mixed feelings for parents as Indian schools in Oman begin to reopen with in-person learning
Indian School Muscat reopened on Monday, 3 January, and other Indian schools are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

Muscat: Parents of students attending Indian schools in Oman are divided over whether the current measures employed by schools are enough to keep their children safe from COVID-19, especially in the light of the new Omicron variant.

Indian School Muscat reopened on Monday, 3 January, and other Indian schools are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

Children attending senior school (grades IX to XII), as well as those in VIII, are expected to rejoin school at 100 percent occupancy, whereas those in the lower divisions will still be learning in hybrid mode featuring a blend of online and in-person education.

“We have a lot of schools that are scheduled to reopen next week,” said an official from the Board of Directors of Indian Schools in the Sultanate of Oman. “The reason this subject was raised is because ISM was the first of the schools to open. We have informed parents whose children are still not eligible for vaccines that they can continue to learn online, and don’t need to come to class.

“However, the decision regarding the older children was based on guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education, because they are eligible to be double vaccinated,” he added. “We are waiting for more instructions regarding in-person attendance for them, and will issue an update as soon as we receive one.”

Joby Titus, whose children are too young to attend 100 percent in-person learning, said the rules in effect were adequate to ensure their safety, provided they are adhered to properly.

“The children themselves say they are extremely keen to go back to school, because they have not been to school now for a good two years,” he said. “They are tired of staying at home for so long, starved of interaction with their friends. Staying away from social interaction for so long is not good for their overall development.

“If the measures the schools take are followed properly, including the checking of temperatures at the gate, proper mask mandates, regular sanitisation, and so on, then I think it is okay to send our children to school,” he said.

Of a similar opinion was Nishad Mohammed, whose children will also undergo hybrid learning. “My children are also excited to go back to school, and the schools have assured us that they will take the proper measures to keep them safe,” he said. “If that is the case, then they definitely must attend school, because there is a lot more to learning than just books and lessons.”

However, Michelle Gonzalves’ daughter is required to attend in-person lessons, and given the crowded nature of Indian school classes, she is concerned about whether 100 percent attendance is a good thing.

“In my daughter’s class, there are easily about 40 children, so there is really no room for social distancing,” she said. “If even one child has the symptoms of COVID-19 and they spread it to others, it is a matter of concern for all of us. ”

Michelle was able to witness this first-hand during a recent parent-teacher meeting, when she saw that the procedures put in place were just as they were before the pandemic: people were clustered together, and there was little effort to maintain social distancing.