*Reopening of schools necessary to prevent further damage to socio-emotional wellbeing of students- Dy CM Manish Sisodia*

*According to various researches done by global institutions, the risk of COVID is less among young children, will recommend reopening of schools in DDMA meeting- Dy CM Manish Sisodia*

*We closed school when it was not safe for children but excessive caution is now harming our children- Dy CM Manish Sisodia*

*A generation of children will be left behind if we do not open our schools now- Dy CM Manish Sisodia*

*Delegation of parents living in Delhi handed over a memorandum to Dy CM Manish Sisodia seeking reopening of schools*

*Parents' delegation was led by Public Policy & Health System Expert Dr Chandrakant Lahariya and Centre for Policy Research President Yamini Aiyar*

*School closure for two years has led to a huge learning gap among students- Yamini Aiyar*

*It is important to reopen schools now, or else a whole generation will move ahead with this learning gap- Yamini Aiyar*

NEW DELHI: 26TH JANUARY 2022-A delegation of parents of Delhi's children led by policy experts Dr Chandrakant Lahariya and Yamini Aiyar submitted a memorandum to Deputy Chief Minister Shri Manish Sisodia today. The memorandum was signed by more than 1600 parents seeking reopening of schools. In a fruitful discussion with the parents Dy CM Shri Manish Sisodia observed that continued school closures due to COVID pandemic over the past two years have not only resulted in a huge learning gap among children but also affected their mental and emotional health. To bridge the learning gap of students and to ensure their social, emotional and mental well-being, it has become imperative to open schools.


The Deputy Chief Minister said that online education can never replace offline studies. "In the past two years, school children's lives have been confined to their rooms. Instead of going to schools and spending time in playgrounds, all their activities now take place only on mobile phones. The pandemic-induced school closures have not only affected their studies but also mental health. During COVID, our priority was children's safety. But since various researches have now found that COVID is not so harmful for kids, it is important to reopen the schools, as now is the time for exams and related preparations," he added. The Education Minister further said that schools are being reopened in several countries and even many Indian states. On this basis, Delhi Government will recommend reopening of schools in the DDMA meeting scheduled on January 27.

Shri Manish Sisodia said that while the COVID cases and positivity rate are on the decline in Delhi, it would not be suitable to keep children away from schools. Hence, the Kejriwal Government will request in the DDMA meeting that it be allowed to reopen schools while following all COVID protocols. With children returning to schools, not only will the schools witness a buzz but it will also indicate lives coming back on track.

The Deputy CM further tweeted, "I agree with the parents' demands. We closed school when it was not safe for children but excessive caution is now harming our children. A generation of children will be left behind if we do not open our schools now."

On the occasion, Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, a member of the parents' delegation, said that according to AIIMS, ICMR, Indian Academy of Paediatrics, NITI Aayog, WHO and several other organisations, the risk associated with COVID is very less among children. He said school closures have a few advantages but its negative impact on children's learning and mental-emotional well-being was very high. Hence, reopening of schools is a crying need of the hour.

Centre for Policy Research President Yamini Aiyar said that a huge learning gap was being seen among kids because of them staying away from schools for long. Due to the pandemic, it has only widened over the past two years and keeping kids further away from schools will mean that an entire generation will move ahead with the learning gap. She further said that several researchers have found that children are even forgetting the basic mathematics and fundamental language skills. To bridge the learning gap, it is important for schools to reopen. Schools focus on overall development of children, which is not possible at home and via online education.
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