Srinagar, Sep 21: Government reopening schools on “voluntary basis” in Jammu and Kashmir has put the parents in a tight spot. The parents have been asked to sign an undertaking that if their wards catch COVID they should not blame the authorities for it.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Asking parents to give a bond is being too unreasonable. Not many parents would like to put the lives of their wards at stake by signing a consent letter which has no logic.”
A parent said, “I don’t mind one year of my children getting wasted but I won’t put them at risk by putting my signature at the letter which can put the lives of my children at stake.”
He said, “Reopening schools amidst pandemic is not a good idea at all. The helmsmen should pay some attention towards the fact that there has been a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases since the day lockdown has been lifted. On average more than 15 people are dying daily. There has been not let up in the positive cases. In these circumstances, parents are being asked to sign the bond and send children to schools. It’s surprising.”
Another parent said, “I fail to understand what voluntary basis means. The circular issued by the School Education Department is like signing a suicide note. And it’s strange that the authorities want us to sign it.”
It’s in place to mention here that the School Education Department has issued a circular which parents have to sign. It states: “I undertake that I will not blame anybody in the school for any incident of COVID-19. I shall provide a facemask and hand sanitizer to my daughter/son required as per the guidelines of the government. I will also ensure that my daughter/son shall not wear a belt, rings, wrist watch while going to the school.”
Schools in Kashmir were closed on August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divided it into two union territories. Educational institutions opened for few days in March this year but were closed after the outbreak of pandemic.
An official said, “We have opened the schools on voluntary basis on the directions of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and no one is being compelled to send their children to schools. To send the students to schools is the discretion of parents and we have no role to play in it. People should bear in mind that we have to learn to live with COVID-19. The vaccine is on the way, till then life has to go on.”