2020 changed our lives. As we wore masks to protect ourselves from the novel coronavirus, we also tried to lead hygienic lifestyles and stayed at home to the extent possible.
We woke up to the news of pandemic-related tragedies, which made us feel sad for those who were suffering and also worry about our fragile and vulnerable selves.
Economies took a hit. Mental health became a cause for concern. So was education with students and teachers staying at home to avoid getting infected inside crowded campuses.
Education, which suffered immensely last year, is attempting to return to normal in India today. States have either reopened or are reopening schools and colleges to ensure regular academic activity. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have to be followed, of course.
But the initial signs of activity are visible, which is reassuring.
In Mizoram, however, the directorate of school education has ordered that schools and hostels shall stay closed until further notice.
The state’s Covid-19 statistics are not as alarming as they might have been, with 4310 people having been infected out of which 4205 have been discharged and nine have died.
Prioritising safety and caution, the establishment has decided to slow down the pace of return to normal as it keeps an eye on the situation in the state.
Manipur, where the pandemic has caused much more damage, has decided to reopen schools for classes 9 to 12 from January 27.
Also read: Schools, hostels to remain closed in Mizoram
Assam, the worst-affected state in the Northeast, has been seeing increasingly better attendance ever since schools reopened on January 1. Should there be no surprise in store, Mizoram will walk down that path soon.
Months after Covid-19 threatened to make a large-scale impact in India, it is abundantly clear that it won’t vanish overnight.
India has succeeded in bending the curve, which is encouraging though. That said, the mysterious virus will continue to hurt us for quite some time even as we try to dodge or tame it if we can.
Education in classrooms is of utmost importance in a nation with a high percentage of students who have no access to online education. That is a significant reason governments of the day have decided to reopen institutions as promptly as possible.
Also, reducing the syllabus to give the students a fair chance is a temporary solution. Everything that hasn’t been taught must be covered soon, a need everybody realises.
Reopening schools and colleges has its share of risks. Not every student will behave responsibly after experiencing freedom from parental supervision, creating more chances of contracting the disease.
That is a risk Mizoram too must take.
The Indian experience after reopening academic institutions hasn’t been a cause for worry so far. That should give confidence to the authorities as they attempt to restore normalcy in the state.