Delhi heatwave: Schools cut outdoor activities

New Delhi: Amid the prevailing heatwave, schools in the Capital have restricted outdoor activity and made the dress code flexible in line with the union ministry of education guidelines issued on Wednesday.

The ministry’s guidelines for schools to deal with the impact of the heatwave suggested reduced school timings, curtailed outdoor activity and flexibility in dress code, among other precautions.

“School hours may start early and get over before noon. The timing may be from 7.00am onwards. The number of school hours per day may be reduced. Sports and other outdoor activities that expose students directly to the sunlight may be appropriately adjusted in the early morning,” the guidelines said.

Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said that while the school had curtailed sports activities, they will explore the possibility of reduction in school timings following the Centre’s guidelines. “We are suspending classes on Friday on account of the English board exam. When we reopen next week, we will either end classes by noon or advance the summer break by a few days after finalising our plan,” said Arora.

She said that the school was not enforcing the uniform with strictness and children could wear summer-friendly, comfortable clothes. According to the guidelines issued by the ministry, students can wear loose and light-colored cotton outfits and canvas shoes, instead of leather ones.

Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School, said that the school was not conducting assemblies and children could wear a uniform as long as they were comfortable. The school has also moved all sports and other outdoor activity to auditoriums. “All sports activity is taking place inside the auditorium. Children can also choose to opt out of these activities if they are not comfortable,” said Joshi.

While some schools in the Capital will suspend classes for summer vacations, parents’ groups in the city said that a majority of schools are continuing classes till the end of May while some are only initiating the vacation in June.

Asma Saeed, a resident of East Delhi, whose daughter studies in a private school in the Capital, said that while sending children to school amid the heat is difficult, their summer vacation will begin by the end of the week. “The heat is troubling, especially for younger children. The school is yet to initiate any changes. However, the summer vacation is starting soon so we will get a breather now,” said Saeed.

Aprajita Gautam, president, Delhi Parents Association, said that more parents are now raising concerns about the continuation of classes during the heatwave. Gautam said that while the Centre has issued guidelines asking people to not step out during the peak hours in the afternoon this month, summer vacation in several schools is starting only in June. “The heat is unbearable. Schools should either advance the summer vacation or introduce classes in the hybrid mode,” said Gautam.

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