My daughter is in class 10 – Yes the big board year! We all know how stressful that is. I remember when I gave my class 10 & 12 board exams and nothing has really changed in the last 25 odd years – same stress same pressure.
A few months ago CBSE announced that the boards would be broken up into 2 – one in November/December and the other in March/April. None of us thought much about the offline exams in the face of the pandemic. The adults had just got vaccinated. We were all just recovering from the second wave. We weren't sending our kids to school till we got them vaccinated. All reports by experts pointed to kids being affected in the next wave.
Fast forward to October 2021. Schools have reopened for class 9-12 in Delhi and the school sent us an email telling us that the preboard exams were being held in school – offline. There was panic amongst the parents. The Whatsapp groups were pinging away. What should we do?
My first thought was – She can't go to school – she's not vaccinated. Then my husband and I thought about it again.
- Everything around us is open.
- It's not like the kids are staying indoors.
- They are meeting their friends – in small groups – but still meeting them.
- We have been on holiday through the pandemic.
“There’s just anxiety in the air, and I think kids feel that. I think they are wondering: Are we sure it’s safe to go back? And are other people safe? And is it safe to touch this?” After a discussion with my daughter, we decided to fill in the form and send in the consent for her to attend offline exams. I have to be honest, I was scared. I still am when I send her to school for her exam.
I was one of the few from my group of friends who said yes for offline school. I very firmly believe that there is no right or wrong decision in this case. Everyone has their own set of fears, limitations, health conditions and a parent will take the decision to send or not based on what they feel is right for their child. "Each to their" own is my motto for most things in my life and in this case for sure.
On that note, let me share what else went through my head when agreed to send my daughter to school. It really did Moms!
I'll have to wake up early again: Pre pandemic we would wake up on school days at 545 AM. After 18 months of being home and waking up much later, the thought of crawling out of bed early was quite traumatic. Living in Delhi means the mornings have already got nippy and believe me as the month progresses getting out of that kambal will be torture.
I have to pack tiffin for her: Waking up early, figuring out breakfast and packing tiffin. Eeeps! Breakfast has been pretty fluid during the pandemic with classes online.
The drop & pick up: With bus service not being allowed, the parents are responsible for it. My husband & I have broken it up between us where he drops her early morning and I have to go get her in the middle of my workday. Dropping and picking up children on our own is problematic for working parents as a lot of offices have opened up. Public transport does not seem like a safe option right now and not all parents are okay with carpooling,
Wasn't it simpler when they just tumbled out of bed and placed themselves in front of their class? Yes, it was. But I am glad that she's going to school.
What Steps Did School Take To Ensure Their Safety?
- Temperature checks are done at the gate
- There are sanitisers across the school. The kids have been asked to come with their own bottle though.
- Teachers are constantly reminding them to sanitize & maintain distance
- Sensor taps in the toilets and water coolers have been installed so they don't touch any surfaces.
- The toilet can only be used by one person at a time.
When my husband and I made the decision for her to attend in-person school we were very clear about one thing – we would not force the decision on her. The kids have gone through a lot and we didn't want her to feel anxious about going back to school. It was only after we spoke to her, discussed it with her that we made the choice. Their mental health and happiness is the most important thing for a parent, isn't it?
On the first day when she went back to school, she walked out with a smile. Many of her friends had not turned up, because of parents’ lingering worries about Covid but the one's who were there were glad to be back.
Now with Covid vaccination for kids being announced, that's the next big discussion for us. Are you ready to let your kids take the jab? What are the thoughts racing through your mind when you think about allowing your precious hearts to head back to school? Talk to us in the comments below. We want to know.