Authorities in the Indian capital region Friday reopened schools fully in offline mode after a gap of two years.
It is for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that physical attendance was made no longer optional.
Schools in Delhi were first closed in March 2020 immediately after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent imposition of a countrywide lockdown. The classwork resumed after some time in online mode and students were asked to attend classes sitting at their homes while remaining connected to their school teachers via the Internet.
Although the schools reopened for in-person classes multiple times in the past two years, the online mode was never called off.
Last year, schools reopened briefly, however, the second wave of the pandemic, the grave air pollution levels in the capital city and then the Omicron wave forced them to shut down again.
The decision to phase out online classes was taken during the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting in February this year, following which schools were permitted to fully switch to offline classes from April 1, with the onset of the new academic session.
"It's after two years that schools are reopening and students were excited to get back to school," a local news agency quoted Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive Schools' Conference (NPSC) as having said.
Teachers say the return of in-person classes would allow students to learn properly. According to them, the closure of schools during the past two years has resulted in a significant learning gap.
Reports said many schools however stated they will resume classes only from Monday.
"Online classes will be completely suspended. Both students and teachers are happy since a return to the familiar routine is less stressful," said Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School, Rohini told a local newspaper.