India lockdown Photograph:( Reuters )
Majority of the respondents are parents whose wards are in the primary and secondary school level
The lockdown in India has been in place over over 50 days and going by the Prime Minister’s speech, it is expected to continue with fewer restrictions.
However, a recent survey among parents has found out that 92 per cent of them are unwilling to send their wards back to school immediately after reopening.
Over 12,000 parents spread across all major Indian metro cities took part in this survey by Parent Circle, that covered key aspects of a child’s life such as schooling, playing with other children, birthday parties, visits to malls, movies and restaurants, activity classes, public transport, vacation etc.
Majority of the respondents are parents whose wards are in the primary and secondary school level. The survey conducted by leading parenting platform Parent Circle revealed that 56 per cent of surveyed parents across India preferred to monitor the situation for a month after school reopens, before sending their kids back to school.
About 21 per cent of parents opted to not send their wards to school for the next six months while a few others expressed interest in exploring home-schooling.
Commenting on the survey, Nalina Ramalakshmi, Founder & Managing Director of ParentCircle, said, “An overwhelming majority of parents are worried and unsure. They are anxious and not ready to take any chances. Parents need assurance that their children will be safe in school, group activities, and other public places. They would prefer their children to stay home and be safe, rather than take any risks by letting them venture out till the COVID-19 crisis blows over."
The apprehension among parents was evident in various other categories as well, with 64 per cent parents opting to not send their kids to birthday parties for the rest of the year. The same is said about malls and movies with 50 per cent parents saying that they would not consider it for the rest of 2020.
83 per cent respondents also stated that they were not planning to visit any restaurant for at least 3 months after the lockdown.
Even family vacations are being viewed with utmost caution, with 57 per cent respondents expressing that vacations in the near future are too risky.
“As a society, we need to continue with physical distancing practices, washing of hands and wearing masks for the foreseeable future to ensure the health and safety of everyone, including our children. The onus is on schools and other public places to ensure that safety measures and physical distancing policies are in place before they open up for activities” Nalina added.
Health experts are of the opinion that parents fear are natural, but one must allow normalcy to return by following specific strategies.
“It is perfectly normal for parents to say this. I don’t think any of us are ready to take a decision, without the clear idea of how the situation would evolve 3 months from now. Neither do we know when the lockdown would be lifted. It would be safe to assume that they might consider opening schools only post-August. It is true that the infection in children is very mild and one need not worry about them, but however, parents would be parents! The more worrisome aspect is of the children going and hugging their grandparents(resulting in a possible infection of the senior citizen)” Dr. Ramasubramanian, Infectious Disease Consultant of Apollo Hospitals and the Medical Director of Capstone Clinic told WION.
Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Subramanian Swaminathan says that it is time for evolving strategies like odd-even and also implementing different school timings for students of different classes.
“In kindergartens social distancing is impossible and in most of our schools, the class strength would be higher. They could de-populate the schools by having a hybrid of physical and online classes. We have to face this reality together, see beyond the fear and workout solutions”, he told WION.