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Low attendance in Delhi schools day after bomb scare; principals revisit evacuation plans for future

Around 200 schools in Delhi-NCR Wednesday morning received a hoax bomb threat via email which led to widespread panic among parents and students, prompting authorities to suspend classes and ask parents to pick their wards from the school.
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 06:45 IST
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 06:45 IST

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New Delhi: A day after more nearly 200 schools received hoax bomb emails, educational institutions in the city witnessed a slightly lower attendance, even as principals revisited evacuation plans for such emergencies in the future.

Around 200 schools in Delhi-NCR Wednesday morning received a hoax bomb threat via email which led to widespread panic among parents and students, prompting authorities to suspend classes and ask parents to pick their wards from the school.

Many schools on Thursday reopened to normalcy but attendance has taken a hit even in schools where the threat was not received, principals of some schools told PTI.

Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu School, said she revisited the school's evacuation plan on each floor and also wrote to disaster management authorities to conduct mock drills and awareness activities for them.

She said that there was "slightly more absenteeism" than usual on Thursday.

"I wrote an email to parents telling them to counsel their children and in case they need help from school counsellors, they are also available. I also requested parents to assess their reaction in case of such situations," Arora said.

She said some parents were pushing the gates and some were insisting on taking their children out of turn. "I told them, 'I have 2,700 children to take care of'," she told PTI.

Even in that situation, Arora said she asked teachers to hand the children over after properly checking the IDs of parents, and taking their signatures. Children were also asked to confirm the identities of their parents, she said.

Sudha Acharya, principal of ITL Public School in Dwarka, said parents were still scarred and anxious about the safety of their children in schools.

"Our attendance today has dropped to 85 per cent from an average of about 95 to 97 per cent daily. Certainly parents are still scarred and anxious about the safety of their children. Yesterday itself we had ensured parents that there is nothing to worry about. We didn't get anything on our official email ID," Acharya said.

Acharya, who is also the head of the National Progressive Schools Conference, a body of 250 private schools, said her counterparts in other institutions have also said the attendance is on the lower side.

"For instance, in nursery and KG classes, the attendance is around 80 per cent since there is some fear among parents. But the situation is normal," she added.

"There has been a 10-15 per cent drop in attendance due to the hoax threat compared to the usual strength every day. Parents should understand panicking would not help anyone. We need mutual cooperation to walk out of this situation," Anita Khosla, principal, G D Goenka Public School, Dwarka said.

Schools now plan to issue a fresh advisory to parents asking them to send their children for classes and assuring them that all guidelines for handling bomb threats are being followed by the administration.

They said school premises are now properly sanitised and police are constantly monitoring the security and safety of students and staff.

However, some parents escorted their wards to the schools on Thursday.

"My daughter's school did not receive any threat email, but the school was shut early due to panic among parents. Thankfully, the school opened at normal time today," said Nancy Singh, mother of a class 1 student in Ramagya School in Noida, Sector 50.

Others went to school due to the ongoing exams.

"I was under the impression that the schools will declare a holiday even today but they didn't because exams are going on. I brought my child to school only because of the exam otherwise I wouldn't have. Deep inside we are still sacred for their security and there are a lot of rumours doing rounds," said Preeti Chaudhary, mother of a class 9 student at Mothers Mary School, Mayur Vihar.

Delhi Police made an appeal to people on Thursday to not believe in audio messages that have surfaced on WhatsApp groups making false claims about the bomb threat.

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Published 02 May 2024, 06:45 IST

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