Snow Leopard Residence activities 2020/21 and Covid-19 Pandemic in Nepal

 

        With the beginning of the New Year 2020, the outbreak of 2019 novel corona virus in China started to spread so quickly in other countries including in Nepal after the first case was seen in a man on 23rd Jan 2020 who had returned from Wuhan, China. As the local transmission and death cases due to the corona virus increased in worldwide and especially in the border shared neighbor country India, Nepal went into a nationwide lockdown on 24th March 2020.

        During that time, our class 9 students were giving exams and Class 10, 11 and 12 students were preparing for their final exam especially; eight of our students were in preparation of the Secondary Education Examination (SEE), the most important exam of their schooling years. But the nationwide lockdown leaded to the postponement of all the academic examination including the SEE which was scheduled to be held on March 19, 2020. The lockdown has led to the point of uncertainty from the exams of the students to even the lives of people when there looms a fear of death because of the deadly virus and also shortage of food that were seen in the news headlines.

        When many Dolpo hostel decided to sent their students back to Dolpo after the lockdown- when the vehicular movement on long routes were closed and all the hotels and restaurant were completely shut down throughout the route and even no new travelers were almost not allowed by the locals who were passing their homes, we decided to keep our students in SLR considering all the risks on the way back. Rather, we decided to store enough food items including the gasoline in SLR and we did it. For few weeks our hostel families have to eat a meal without green vegetables. At that time, one of main problems we faced was the over number of students in the hostel- the total of 39 students who resided in SLR, had made a little difficulties in the food and accommodation. But we manage it. The most important thing that we have done was, we strictly followed the health and sanitation guidelines. Our students rarely went outsides of SLR. We saw a kind of joy and a fun in our students for weeks when they don’t need to go to schools in the dust and bad roads rather they can stay in the hostel and carry their studies. As when the lockdown was prolonged and after staying for months and months-locked inside the hostel, obviously we see a little uneasiness in our students. But we made a routine and activities in the hostel that involved our students actively like in kitchen duties on rotational basis, and arranged small sports tournament in the day time (lucky to have quite big ground on our backyard), and study time in the morning and evening, and off course they can watch television and use internet, all these made the lockdown period a quite pleasant.

        Though the government decided to cancel the remaining of class 9 exams after the first two weeks of the lockdown in the wake of pandemic, the SEE, class 11 and 12 exams were loomed in uncertainty. Our SEE students were remained so busy for almost 3 months after the lockdown to prepare for the exam. This made them a really boredom with never ending preparation. The class 9 students were at ease as they finished their exams and after few weeks their new academic session was already begun so, the school started to give online classes. The students said that it was interesting and a nice experience to learn through online despite they faced little difficulties in subject like Mathematics. However they enjoyed to learn from home. Though, we, together with the students faced little difficulties to manage mobile phones and computer, speedy internet at first, the students enjoyed the online learning method staying at home. The class 11 and 12 students also got online classes.   

        Finally, on June 9, 2020 the government decided to cancel the SEE test as well, with ending the long drawn uncertainty and announced to issue a SEE certificates based on the internal evaluation conducted by the respective schools. This brought a relief to our SEE students and also made them to leave for Dolpo to see their family after 3 years. So, finally eight of our see graduates and also 9 of CMS class 9 students left for Dolpo with our CMS teacher’s team on July 1, 2020. The team was consisted of 31 people with 15 students and 16 teacher staffs team. The SEE graduates enjoyed for a month in Dolpo with their family and people after their effortless days and nights of preparation for almost 3 months in SLR, and then back home with not an easy travelling and also need to stay in quarantine in Tarap for two weeks. The SEE graduates returned back to SLR on September 30 and joined college for class 11 with 3 of them joined science, 2 lab technicians, 1 in humanities, 1 in management and 1 computer science. They also had their online class from October 14.    

        The class 11 exam which was scheduled to be held from the government board in May 5, 2020 was later cancelled and government announced to hand over to the school in August 2020. As the new class 12 courses have also begun at the end of April, the students later had to give exam of class 11 in the middle of their class 12.

        The class 12 exam which was also scheduled to take place in April 23 was finally held on November 24. Five of the grade 12 student left SLR at the end of November after their exam, who has now started their bachelor studies. 

        As the New Year 2021 begins, the schools and colleges started its physical classes as well regularly though some schools run physical class even some months earlier with making morning and evening shift. Currently we have 6 students going to BABA school studying in Class 10, 6 students in class 11, 4 in class 12, 2 are studying PCL laboratory medicine who joined in the fall 2020, 2 in PCL nursing who will finish in October 2021. Nyima wangmo is in class 10 this year and Urgen is in class 7. They also have regular classes these days. Namgyal from lang has yet to resume his art class.  

        From Today, the 4th of April, 2021 our students will go to school and college after four days holiday because of the dangerous air pollution in national wide due to smoke from forest fire across the country.

        Nepali government has announced on July 21 to end the 4 months’ national wide lockdown, with letting the vehicle movements, opening of shops, markets, offices. Gradually educational institutions were opened and flights were resumed as covid cases goes down and enforcing sanitation guidelines. Due to this pandemic, Nepali government confirmed 2777 deaths till now. And the pandemic forced Nepal to cancel the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign. The country’s economy was severely affected especially on tourism, remittance, manufacturing, construction and trade. Despite focusing on controlling in the spread of corona virus and reviving the crippled economy of the country the government and political parties had been fighting for post since last 6 months. Not only the opposition parties even the Government involved political parties had launched mass gathering and rallies, protests for months. Despite the weak health system and the inefficient government, report shows that the Covid infection rate has fallen steadily from 3000 in October 2020 to 300 in January which was supposed to take a serious toll otherwise. But then again cases are increasing these days. 

        As the new variants of corona virus has spread in Europe and in the neighboring India in these months, and the respective government are taking necessary precautions, but in Nepal, the government don’t give a bit of care. Experts say if the new strain comes, then herd immunity that is said to be seen in Nepal doesn’t even matter and again every one of us will be vulnerable in this country where there is no proper measure in place to respond.  

        In between all these things the poorest will hit the hardest, let it be by the economic fallout of pandemic and diseases.

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