As we all know the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the world untold stories of loss and struggles. No doubt it has affected our life styles. Millions of people got affected economically, socially, politically and most importantly educationally. Yet, we can consider in the light of faith, this pandemic was a time and an opportunity for all of us. It’s a time of discovery, a time of new inventions, a time for initiatives, a time of challenges, a time to come out from our cocoons and make a difference all around us and a time to experiment with new modes and methods in our life’s activities and events.
St. Arnold’s Central school, Mysore, too found it as an opportunity to reach out to its students and parents in a totally new method of teaching and learning – what we call as ‘online learning’ or ‘digital learning’. Though it was totally a new concept and a novel experience for all including staff, management, parents and students and we all were dumped into the dark, yet, without giving up all worked together to reach out to the students of our school through digital teaching. We started our digital teaching right from May 2020, and still its continuing quite successfully.
Even, CBSE X Std. Board Exam portion is completed much ahead of time with this method. Parents, though initially had lots of inhibitions and doubts, about this method, gradually, they picked up and today, they are much appreciative about the efforts made by the teachers and the management. The Google-Class room app which was supplied by Google through the help of Fr. Evan Gomes SVD made our digital learning quite effective and successful. Even now, it is continued and all the students from LKG to Class X are digitally learning being in their own homes.
We, in St. Arnold’s Mysore, did not miss any of the events of this academic year. Though students were not present, yet we conducted Independence Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, Christmas Celebration and most recently even Republic Day in the school with our teaching and non-teaching staff quite ceremoniously and meaningfully. The spirit of all these celebrations was kept alive with proper Covid guidelines issued by the department of education.
St. Arnold’s Mysore also can boast of hosting, during the time of pandemic, NEET-2020 examination conducted by National Testing Agency in the school premises in the month of August. Three times the Police Constables and Police Force exams for various categories were held in the school premises in the month of August, October and November 2020. It’s also quite overwhelming to note that digitally we were able to conduct tests and term exams of students, who really participated with lots of cooperation and parental support. St. Arnold’s Central School is quite in touch with most of the students, who show a lot of interest in their academics.
Initially, time and again, because of the constant misguiding by the media and the political authorities a lot of confusion was created regarding the payment of fees and other misinformation about private schools, yet our parents and teachers stood by us and supported all the ventures conducted by the school. From January 1st week onwards, a new academic initiative is launched by the education department of Karnataka namely “Vidyagama” wherein the students are allowed to come to the school and the classes are held in the school with Standard Operating Procedures for Covid. Immediately, we implemented this Vidyagama programme for standards 6 to 10. Hence, these days around 70% to 80% of the students turn up every day to school. Yes, it’s quite challenging to obtain parents’ consent and have only 20 in a class room, yet, it is working well as of now.
On 26th January 2021, we celebrated, our Republic Day quite meaningfully with our teaching and non-teaching staff. Though we couldn’t celebrate, Republic Day with our students this year, yet a short programme was organized by the teachers, which enriched the importance of this celebration as it was a matter of great pride for all of us. The management, teachers and the non-teaching staff didn’t want to leave any stone unturned in making the monumental day a memorable one.
Dr. Dhanajaya VM who is an active member in the fight against Covid-19 in Mandya district, as well as, a victim of Covid was the Chief Guest of this occasion. He inspired, advised and shared his vivid experiences of the pandemic and instilled in the staff courage and confidence. The teachers put up a couple of beautiful performances in the form of three patriotic dances, and a lively patriotic song. The
speeches on our Indian constitution and the importance of the Republic Day made this occasion an experience in itself.