Students afraid of attending schools used as quarantine sites


The government has instructed the authorities concerned to commence the school enrolment process from today, but students in Dang district seem to be reluctant to go to schools that had once turned into quarantine facilities for COVID-19 suspected persons.

Although those schools were disinfected and readied for teaching-learning activities, both parents and students are reluctant, said Secondary School Centre, Tulsipur’s Principal Bhagawat Poudel.

With growing cases of COVID-19 in the country and lack of quarantine facilities, the government had, since May 23, decided to convert schools into quarantine facilities to house people suspected to have contracted the flu-like infection.

Principal Poudel said the enrolment rate in schools witnessed a slump this year. “Around 1,500 to 1,600 students ought to come to school for admission during this time, but only 600 to 700 students arrived for enrolment,” said Poudel, adding that apprehensive parents and students were being counselled.

According to him, parents and students have been told that there is no risk of COVID-19 in the schools since the schools have already been disinfected.”

Similarly, Janata Secondary School Principal Padma Bahadur Rawat in Bijouri said they had been making door-to-door visits and taking admission of schoolgoing children.

Gurujajur Secondary School at Tulsipur also saw decrease in the number of students seeking enrolment for the new academic year. The school was also used as quarantine site earlier.

It was properly sanitised and posed no risk of COVID-19 to anyone, said student Sarita Bhandari, who is facing a hard time convincing parents and students not to fear going to school.

Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan City has adopted the policy of reaching out to students in an open space in every settlement and resuming the stalled teaching-learning activities by maintaining social distance and adhering to other health safety protocols.

All schools were shut down following a nationwide lockdown ordered by the federal government since March 24 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The schools that were turned into quarantine facilities have now been emptied and sanitised to resume teaching-learning activities, said Tulsipur Sub-Metropolitan City’s Officiating Chief Administrator Bhaskar Gautam. But the dwindling number of students in the admission process has appeared to be a cause for concern, he added.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.