'As schools prepare to reopen, 39% of students unaware of guidelines'

New Delhi: As schools across the country prepare to reopen after being closed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 39 per cent of students are either unaware or have incomplete knowledge of relevant guidelines, a new survey has claimed.

The survey by Smile Foundation was conducted in February and March, and 26,860 students in the age group of 8-18 from 131 schools across 12 states took part in it.

"The survey has found that an overwhelming 78 per cent of students are happy about the prospect of reopening of schools, but 22 per cent are anxious and scared of meeting their school friends and interacting with them," it said.

"As many as 52 per cent of students were found to be concerned about consuming mid-day meals when schools reopen. At least 41 per cent were not found fully comfortable following COVID protocols in school," the survey report added.

The survey also included responses from 75 teachers in 12 states. It found that 69 per cent of teachers were highly satisfied with the teaching and learning process in the blended-learning format.

The survey suggested that 44 per cent of teachers feel students will not be able to catch up with learning as per the conventional grades' standard when they return to schools, while 42 per cent of teachers felt maintaining COVID protocols will be the other major challenge for returning students.

Schools were closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain spread of the coronavirus. Schools in several states began reopening partially from October last year depending upon the COVID-19 situation.

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