A flurry of activity enlivened up the premises of the Satsang Vidyalaya and Swaasthya Kendra immediately after the Andhra Pradesh Government issued the order for opening of schools in the wake of a remission in the COVID19 pandemic.
With the date for the opening set for the 23rd of August, 2021, the first order of business was to get both the teaching and non-teaching staff vaccinated. This was organised on the school campus itself and received an excellent response. On the 12th of August, select teachers from the school also attended a First Aid and CPR training to equip themselves to handle any medical emergencies.
COVID supplies like seating mats for both classrooms and mealtimes were procured, masks for the children were bought and taps added so that adequate hand hygiene could be maintained, while thermal scans were organised at entry.
The kitchen staff was reoriented with modified norms of preparation and serving, going through a number of trials for seating and serving.
This was followed by an orientation meeting with parents acquainting them with the new norms and responding to their queries on what could be done on the appearance of symptoms in the child in school or at home. COVID awareness was reiterated along with the importance of following guidelines.
As the D-Day approached, the multi-purpose hall in the school was refurbished to allow for mealtimes with appropriate distancing, yoga practice as well as to house the library. A new staff room was set up for the teachers and the Computer laboratory was supplied with twelve new machines to bring up the total to 17, allowing access to 34 students at one go.
Through the pandemic the teachers had worked round the clock to see that students got access to video recordings of classes, handing out assignments every day and checking them, while also coordinating timings to ensure that all students had access to mobile phones or connectivity. The classes sometimes went on from 7am in the morning to late night to ensure that students could access phones either early in the morning before parents left for work or late evenings when they were back home. Some students from the rural school were brought to areas of good connectivity by the staff and given phones that could be shared to enable them to attend classes and complete assignments. Mr. Stephen Mathews, Principal, was proud to announce that there have been no dropouts post the pandemic.
The children themselves were delighted to be back amidst familiar surroundings with their friends, even though they had enjoyed reduced school hours, using the additional time to learn new skills or help parents with chores.
The younger ones said the masks were hard to keep on, but they understood the need to have them and were happy to comply with regulations if it meant they could be back at their beloved school!