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Amar Prem Prakash, a Class XII student from Delhi on Friday has filed a petition in Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and States to consider and take a time-bound decision concerning the physical re-opening of schools.

The petitioner stated that the indecision and vacillation on the part of the Union Government and several State Governments and Union Territories in the country, including the NCT of Delhi, in the matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes with adequate safeguards in the light of the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The petitioner also raised the issue of deprivation and ill-effects, both psychological and actual, of school children being kept away from attending their schools physically and having to join their classes virtually instead.

The petitioner also stated that the non-reopening of schools in the country and physical teaching in the classrooms is proving to be not only detrimental to the interests of students but also tantamounts to discrimination and unfair treatment.

The petition, along with most other students, has been facing severe issues with online school teaching, particularly so, because it is the final year of school for the petitioner, and education and online testing have not been effective for such long a period, the plea said.

The petitioner also said that issues relating to the mental and physical health of school children have been a matter of serious concern during this time and have severely impacted their performance and concentration.

If public places can re-open for people who may or may not have been vaccinated, regulated by Covid appropriate behaviour, it merits serious consideration that schools and educational institutions must be given priority in re-opening, the plea said.

The petitioner also stated that a time-bound decision in regard to the physical re-opening of schools with adequate safeguards, will not only end the uncertainty and speculation in this regard, but also assuage the sentiments of the students’ community in the country.

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