students back in schools but online is here to stay | News from Noida

Noida/Ghaziabad: A new academic session has once again enlivened school classrooms and hallways – gradually approaching pre-lockdown ways of studying, but with some notable differences.
Principals say students are happy to be back even though they are still adjusting to the change. Many schools in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, operational for offline education since the UP government allowed it from February 14, reopened this week at full capacity. They still believe that blended learning – both online and offline courses – is here to stay.
“The students have put on their uniforms after a long break and the school is once again full of familiar faces. Hallways, libraries, art rooms, grounds and classrooms are once again alive and bustling with energy,” said Renu Singh, Principal of Amity International School in Noida.
The school, which provided classes in a staggered manner, opened its doors to students in their entirety. But review courses, workshops and orientation programs will be held online as a “standard for times to come”, Singh said.
Students at the school said they were eagerly awaiting the start of physical lessons. “Going to school after two years, enjoying with friends, meeting the teachers, walking the school corridors was something we dreamed of for a long time,” said Aarohi Kansal, 13, a student in class 8 to Amity.
For many others, online classes could never compensate for real-world interactions. “We are excited to study offline,” said Bhawani, 13, also from class 8 at Amity School.
The joy of being back was also evident at Seth Anandram Jaipuria School in Vasundhara. “Those who regularly took online classes were eager to return to school. They missed peer and classroom interactions. And they were happy to participate in extracurricular activities such as music, art and sports,” said Shalini Nambiar, principal of the school.
School principals, however, admitted that they had to reorient their approach to teaching and iron out certain youth problems. Students are no longer used to writing on paper or participating in group activities, they said. There are also children in the junior classes who have only been educated online so far. They now have to adapt to physical classes and a whole different atmosphere away from home.
These changes have prompted new ways of teaching, with some opting for a less theoretical approach to foster self-study.
“The old system of having students sit in a space for long periods at a time has undergone a sea of ​​change. The emphasis is now on learning through projects and self-directed research. This helps to develop concentration skills and empowers students to have more confidence in themselves as owners of the learning process,” a spokesperson for Shiv Nadar School in Noida told TOI.
The school principal said teachers have drawn up plans for students in all grades to ease them into the return process. Around 90% of primary grade students are back in schools, and they expect to reach full attendance for the new session which started on April 4. “We identify issues at each grade level and have created an ‘Settlement’ program that aims to develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for each child based on their needs,” said Anju Soni, director of the Shiv Nadar School in Noida.
Like the others, the students of Seth Anandram Jaipuria School also reported some initial duds. “Writing practice and social interactive skills had definitely taken a hit. But within days of reopening, the kids started handing in their homework and got along well with the process,” she said.
At Apeejay School in Noida, officials said hybrid classes bring balance and allow students to experience the best of both worlds.
“This combination of online and offline teaching engages students in a multi-faceted learning approach. Students can visit the school campus and interact personally with their professors. It also gives them a sense of normalcy even though online classes are ongoing,” a school spokesperson said.
As schools adjust to this new normal, some parents have said they prefer to remain cautious. “Families of primary school students are stressed because their children are not vaccinated. Medical experts have not ruled out another wave of infections in the future,” said Manoj Kataria, the founder of Gautam Budh Nagar Parents Welfare Society (GPWS). Vaccination is allowed for children aged 12 and over. Four months into this year, there is optimism, but much will depend on how the pandemic progresses.
Both schools and students have learned to reconnect effectively when needed. “Teachers are now technologically equipped and will provide a more conducive learning environment with hybrid teaching modules,” school spokesperson Apeejay said.

Norma A. Roth