Srinagar, Sep 21: Fear was palpable on Monday when schools reopened for the first time after six months of lockdown in Kashmir.
Most of the students preferred to stay home and give schools a miss. Most of the parents were reluctant to send their children to schools on a voluntary basis as the coronavirus threat still looms large in Kashmir.
On August 29, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued guidelines for Unlock 4 and allowed the partial reopening of schools from September 21.
Students from 9th to 12th were asked to attend the school only after giving a written undertaking that they have not been coerced. However, almost all the schools recorded very thin attendance.
Amid fear, some brave hearts were enthusiastic to join the school and meet old friends.
Bisma Mir, a student of Kothi Bagh Higher Secondary School, could not hide her excitement to meet her friends after six months of hiatus.
“We could not attend the classes in schools due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Zoom classes were of little help. My parents gave me permission to attend school. However they have asked me to take due precautions,” she said.
It was an emotional reunion of Qurat Rashid and her friends who met after a long time. “I am very happy to see my friends and teachers in a good health. This is our first day and fewer students have turned up. Hand sanitizers and masks were available in the school premises,” she said.
An official at Jawahar Nagar Higher Secondary School said that many students visited school without the consent of their parents but they were not allowed to enter the school.
“We told them to come after furnishing written consent from their parents. There will no regular class work in schools, however, teachers are available for assisting students in case they face any difficulty,” the official said.
Some schools saw zero attendance on Monday. Shri Pratap Higher Secondary School wore a deserted look with only non-teaching and teaching staff present in the administrative block.
Director of School Education Kashmir, Dr. Younis Malik was not available for the comment.