A group of parents of school-going children in Delhi have written to government functionaries requesting them to reopen schools.
The schools were closed on November 13 due to rising air pollution.
A group of 140 parents, including lawyers, doctors, professors, business owners and architects—have sent a representation to the Lieutenant Governor, Chief Minister, and Deputy Chief Minister, Ministers of Environment and Health, Chairpersons of the CAQM and DCPCR, Chief Secretary, and MLA Atishi urging them to re-open schools.
In their letter, they have pointed out at the fact that schools had been operating at 50 per cent capacity in a hybrid mode which allows parental choice and address public health issues on vehicular pollution.
“Schools are authorized to operate at 50% capacity in hybrid mode. This has reduced the extent of potential transport on the roads thus reducing any public health benefits of closing schools. Further, hybrid nature of schooling offers parents with alternative modes of protection to make a choice about sending their children to schools,” states their representation.
They also questioned the health benefits of closing schools for children. “Majority of school-going children do not have access to methods of protection against air pollution such as air purifiers. Consequently, school closure presents no significant health benefits to most school-going children in Delhi, most of whom have suffered significantly from one of the longest pandemic-induced school closures in the world. On the contrary, masks are mandatory in schools to contain COVID-19 spread – masking will reduce exposure to air pollution.”
Delhi government, from November 1 had allowed the reopening of schools for middle and primary school students after more than 19 months of being closed, for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
The schools for classes IX to XII had opened earlier from September 1.
However, due to the rise in air pollution levels in the capital city, the government, on November 14 directed that schools be should be shut for students of all classes till November 20.
Further on, the education department passed an order that the closure will continue “till further orders”.
A meeting to review decisions on closing of school and college, government officials working from home, and prohibition on entry of trucks carrying non-essential items will take place on Wednesday.
With Agency Inputs