Balloons, flowers, sanitisers and smiling faces welcomed class 10 and 12 students in schools in the national capital on Monday as they returned to campuses after over 10 months.
The students who were elated to be able to attend the first offline class of the academic session wore masks and queued up outside schools maintaining social distance.
Schools reopened on Monday after over 10 months of being closed in view of coronavirus pandemic. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was an emotional moment to see children back in school.
"Seeing kids back in school after a long time, is an emotional moment for me. Schools have reopened today after leaving behind a very difficult time. We are hopeful that soon, everything will be normal and all students will be able to come to schools and meet their teachers and friends," he tweeted.
Pragati Diwan, an excited class 12 student said, "it was optional to come but I was sure I have to. It is the last year of my school life and I haven't come to school even one day," said Pragati Diwan, an excited class 12 student.
For another student at Geeta Bal Bharti School, the feeling was similar to that of attending first day at school.
"It does not feel like I am coming to school after ten months, it feels like I have come to school for the first time. I am looking forward to the preparations for board exams here," she said.
Prince, a student at Delhi government school, said, "The online classes were a great help for theoretical subjects but the practical subjects were a challenge. I am glad to be back at school so the practical concepts will be easily brushed up before the board exams".
The school put up posters of "welcome back" in corridors where teachers stood with sanitisers and checked the temperature of each student before letting them in.
Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Mandawali decorated the premises with balloons and the teachers showered flower petals on students, welcoming them.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also visited a school in Chirag Enclave on Monday to assess the readiness of schools to welcome class 10 and 12 students.
"Felt really good to meet children in schools after a long time. They are still adjusting to being back in school with safety norms but are extremely happy to meet their friends. The teachers are also overjoyed to meet students, saying it has filled an empty space in their life," Sisodia said.
Calling students in different slots, shorter school hours, frequent sanitisation and staggered entry and exit are among the plans of various schools in the national capital as they gear to welcome class 10 and 12 students on Monday for the first time in the academic session.
The schools are reopening in Delhi after 10 months, after being shut last year to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and they have been instructed by the Directorate of Education (DoE) to follow all COVID-19 guidelines when classroom studies resume.
The Delhi government has allowed all schools outside COVID-19 containment zones here to reopen for classes 10 and 12 from January 18 in view of board exams. However, it made clear that physical attendance is not compulsory and students will attend schools only with the consent of parents.
Allowing 15 students at a time in a classroom, placing handwashing consoles and sanitisers in corridors, volunteers to ensure social distancing is maintained, temperature checks and medical facilities on standby if any student is not feeling well, are among various other initiatives planned by schools.
Schools are also working out plans to ensure that students who choose not to come to campus, do not miss out anything.
The Union Education Ministry has already announced that board exams for Classes 10 and 12 will be conducted from May 4 to June 10, even though the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is yet to release an examination date-sheet.
Over 3 lakh students have registered from the Delhi region for the Class 10 CBSE board exam, while over 2.5 lakh candidates have registered for the Class 12 exam. The Delhi government has suggested that schools conduct pre-board exams for Class 12 from March 20 to April 15 and Class 10 pre-board exams from April 1 to April 15.