Notes from the field – Chhattisgarh

I came back from Chhattisgarh and schools have reopened there.
However, attendance is varied.
When teachers go to students’ homes and ask their parents to send their kids to school, some parents send, but others ask if the teacher will guarantee safety.
Masks for kids are not the norm in all the schools I visited, and I am given to understand that this is the general case. Some kids wear masks. Some have it as an accessory. Most are unmasked.

The government is not mandating compulsory attendance. Only those whose parents are comfortable sending kids to school need to come. However, now Mohalla classes, online classes, and home visits that were done by teachers cease as the schools are functioning. This means the students who are not coming to schools are completely out of the net.

Another circular of the government states 50% attendance to ensure social distancing.
Result: Mid-day meals are given to each kid on alternate days.

Teachers also shared that some parents have become unaccustomed to preparing their kids for school and some students come to school without breakfast since parents might have had to leave for work earlier to reach more distant places or forgot to make breakfast and so on. The impact of that on learning and health was a concern that one of the teachers said kept her awake nights. She said the girls were especially affected by this and every day almost a girl or two fainting due to tiredness mainly due to lack of food was not uncommon.
How to redress this for all children, she did not know.

The teachers are more concerned with higher grade students since they have to pass exams and their pass rate determines the school’s status, future enrolments, funding, and so on.

I wonder what are the cases from other places as schools reopen?

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