By Manjima Dhakal Kathmandu, Sept. 5: For more than a week now, many local governments across the country have been considering resuming physical classes in schools under their jurisdictions after the federal government handed them the authority to decide on the matter based on the gravity of the coronavirus situation there.
But, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), the most densely populated city, has announced that it won’t resume the classes for at least a week. Ram Prasad Subedi, education officer of the KMC, said that the KMC was not in a position to resume the classes in haste because doing so could mean spike in the coronavirus cases considering its high population density. According to Subedi, the metropolis will decide on the resumption next week after observing local governments of neighbouring areas.
"The KMC has been receiving suggestion from health experts and educationists saying that the time is still not ripe for the schools to open their doors. However, private school operators as well as community school teachers have been seeking permission to reopen the schools, citing that virtual classes have failed to produce the intended results," Subedi said.
While the KMC has decided to wait and see for at least a week, Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC) has yet to make any decision. Mahendra Bahadur Chettri, education officer of the LMC, said that though the city had not made any decision on resuming schools, it had been in consultations with stakeholders, including guardians, teachers and school operators, to make one soon.
Chettri further said last year the city granted rights to School Management Committee to decide on the modality of the virtual classes and that the same could happen this time too. Though the two metropolis are in no mood to resume physical classes anytime soon, some municipalities in the outskirts of the Valley have resumed their physical classes. Gokarneshwor Municipality is one of them. Another is Budanilkanta Municipality.
Similarly, Godawari Municipality, in the outskirts of Lalitpur Metropolis, issued a notice last Tuesday asking its schools to get ready for the operation from Sunday. Uddhav Prasad Kharel, municipality head of the Budhanilkanta Municipality, said they decided to resume classes in a safe environment where only 33 per cent of the total children would be sitting in the classroom at a time. The Municipality made that decision at the request of guardians and schools' operators in light of the neighbouring municipality starting in-person classes. Kharel said the municipality decided to start the classes at reduced capacity as a trial.
In addition, many local governments across the country have decided to resume physical classes after COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) asked local governments to operate schools in consultation with the respective District Crisis Management Centre (DCCMC).
Since more and more people are getting vaccinated, local governments have mustered enough confidence to permit their schools to open their doors. But, District Administration Office of Chitwan has instructed all local governments of the district not to resume physical classes prior to mid-September.