As India experiences a second wave of COVID-19 cases, only 25 per cent parents who participated in a national survey are willing to send their wards to school in April.
Findings of the survey, conducted by community social media platform LocalCircles, is sharply different from that of a similar survey conducted by the same platform in early February. The results of the earlier survey suggested that 67 per cent of the respondents (parents) were in favour of schools reopening as daily COVID cases in India had hit an all-time low of approximately 10,000 cases per day at that time.
Meanwhile, 58 per cent of parents participated in the current survey said "No" to offline classes. While 10 per cent of parents said that "schools for my children or grandchildren are shut in April for summer break", 7 per cent couldn't form a definite opinion. The poll in the survey received 9,687 responses.
The survey covered parents located in 272 districts of India. While 44 per cent of them were located in metros or Tier 1 districts, 28 per cent responses came from Tier 2 districts. Another 28 per cent of parents were located in Tier 3, 4, or rural districts.
LocalCircles also says 73 per cent parents want schools from the next session to be open as long as there are less than 100 active cases in their district. Asked about the criteria for re-opening physical schools, 29 per cent wanted "in-person schools be closed whenever active cases in a district exceed 100", 18 per cent wanted it to happen whenever active cases in a district exceed 200, and 7 per cent said such decision should be taken only if active cases in a district exceed 500. A 5 per cent wanted such a response if the number of active cases in the district exceed 1,000.
LocalCircles has submitted a letter to Anita Karwal, Secretary, Education, and Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, as the collective pulse of parents on opening of schools in April in light of second COVID-19 wave in India. The copies of the letter have been sent to Amit Shah, Minister, Home Affairs, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister, Education, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister, Health and Family Welfare, Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Secretary, Home Affairs, and chief secretaries of all states and UTs. Sachin Taparia, Chairman and CEO, LocalCircles, said the findings of the survey will serve as the parents' collective feedback for the government to consider while deciding the school reopening approach for April-June 2021.