Majority says no to sending kids to schools: Survey

Muscat: Majority of the parents said no to send their children to schools in an online survey and expressed concern over the safety as the new academic year in the Sultanate starts on November 1 amid no decline in COVID-19 cases.

“More than 2,500 comments we received and nearly ten per cent of them agreed to the idea of opening schools now and whoever said yes is either a teacher or a working parent, according to the data supplied by the respondents. And some school managements also commented yes to the question,” said Sarfaraz Khan, the one who conducted the survey told the Observer.

The survey conducted by the Board of Directors of Indian Schools in Oman, which houses the largest community school as well as the largest expatriate student community, sought the parents opinion on the phased opening and hybrid learning classes.

“We are not willing to send our children till the number of cases worldwide reduces and the pandemic is brought under control,” said some parents.

The surveys sought the parents’ preference regarding the physical reopening of the school in November 2020 or January 2021 or April 2021 or after vaccination is made available in Oman.

If the schools open in November, parents were given options to choose from the ongoing online education or a mix of online and on-campus classes on alternate days or only on-campus classes or, theory classes through online platforms and practical classes and examinations in school and the like.

“As long as online classes are helping the children in learning, I don’t think there’s any urgency in opening the schools soon at the cost of the children’s lives,” Mohammed Shafeer, a parent said.

“If the schools want to open in November, they can opt for phased reopening such as senior classes first, middle school thereafter and finally KG and primary classes which is ideal for the schools as well as the children,” another parent said.

“We are all set to welcome students back to school in a safe and secure learning environment to its learners,” said Jamila Ashfaque, Principal of Brilliant Youth Private School (BYPS) a large private school operating from Seeb wilayat.

“We have always been proactive and innovative in our approach to provide the best safety facility to all its students by devising various safety systems and approaches,” the principal of the school which has a perfect mix of students of various nationalities added.

While Alya al Rawahi, Neelam Shervani, Dershana Nair, Charmaine Dcunha, and Hanifa De Lord expressed their concerns over beginning schools in Oman in November, Poppy Philips supported the idea of opening schools in November.

“Definitely I will send my daughter to school. Other countries have led the way in this, if parents choose not to send their children then it is entirely up to them but to not allow face to face learning for anyone is wrong. I would send my daughter back in an instance confident that the school will follow procedures and the risk will be minimal,” Poppy Phillips said in the survey.