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A return to in-person classes for some in India

Nearly 10 months after the pandemic closed Christel House India – Bangalore (CHI), the school has re-opened. Following strict COVID-19 protocols for in-person classes, students in grades 8–12 have safely returned. According to Jaison C. Mathew, CEO, the entire school campus is sanitized daily and the classroom layout has been adapted to ensure safe social distancing. “The students are called to school in batches,” says Mathew. “Each classroom has no more than 15 to 17 students (half the normal class strength). This means that we need twice the number of classrooms,” he says. “But the teacher workload increases.” For science teacher Asha Bora, there is a sense of relief with the return of in-person classes. “Regardless of the situation, learning continued for the Christel House students,” she says. “Regular classes were happening through the on-line mode. However, there is a happiness walking into a classroom and meeting the students – it is different.” For the younger students, it may be a while before they are back in a school classroom. In Atal Nagar, Christel House has implemented community-based classes with teachers going into neighborhoods, including weekends, to engage with students through activities and stories. For Grades 2-6, regular online classes are held for kids utilizing tablets provided by the school through donor support. “The resilience and commitment exhibited by the staff and students under very difficult and constantly changing circumstances is amazing,” says Mathew. “The greatest success was seeing how the various stakeholders – staff, parents, community and students worked together to deal with all the problems arising from the pandemic.”   

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