COVID-19: 'Happiness classes' to be conducted at homes of Delhi govt school kids

Coronavirus: Govt shuts Delhi schools, imposes new travel restrictions as positive cases rise to 30
School students wear mask to mitigate the spread of coronavirus as they arrive to appear for an examination, in Agra, Thursday, March 5, 2020. PTI

New Delhi: The Delhi government's pet project of happiness classes' for school children resumed from Sunday as they were conducted at homes due to the lockdown in view of the COVID-19 situation in the country. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said happiness classes have a crucial role to play in such "turbulent times."

"The purpose behind the happiness curriculum' is to make children introspect and get to know themselves better. Mindfulness is practised by all 16 lakh students everyday in our schools, he said.

We are all gripped with anxiety today. These are unusual times and we do not know what to do as a fun activity. We cannot go out, go to movies, or sit in parks, we are confined to our homes with our family," the minister said.

"In such situations, it is possible to get irritated with one another, and we do not know how to refresh our minds as we are still restricted to our homes, he said.

Underlining the importance of happiness classes in such times, Sisodia, who is also the education minister, said, The activities of happiness class would now be conducted at home everyday by the parents.

We will support around 8 lakh students and their families to practice mindful meditation from tomorrow with the help of our teachers. It is important to turn the atmosphere positive in our homes and make the families spend quality time together," he added.

The Delhi government introduced the happiness curriculum in July, 2018. According to the curriculum, students studying in classes 1 to 8 at Delhi government schools spend 45 minutes every day to attend happiness classes wherein they participate in exercises such as storytelling, meditation, and question and answer sessions.

Similarly, for nursery and kindergarten students, the classes are held twice a week.

US First Lady Melania Trump had attended a happiness class at a Delhi government school during US President Donald Trump's two-day visit to India in February this year.

Schools in the city were closed a week before the nationwide lockdown was announced due to coronaviurs outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government teachers have been conducting daily online sessions for one-and-a-half hour for class 11 students.

"During the period, classes are being held online for class 11 students who are awaiting results to join class 12. Besides that, nursery to class 8 students are being given daily activities via SMS to which IVRS (interactive voice response) will be added to support happiness classes, reading, writing and numeracy activities from today," an official of the Directorate of Education (DoE) said.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 273 and the total number of cases to 8,356 in the country on Sunday.

While the number of active COVID-19 cases is 7,367, as many as 715 people were cured and discharged and one had migrated, it said.

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