Since my last letter dated 21st April 2020, I am happy to inform all our sponsors, donor organizations, friends and well wishers of TCV that our children and coworkers continue to stay safe and sound with around 900 children on campuses in all our branches. At the same time, we say our prayers to all lives lost and many more who continue to suffer, for speedy recovery and that this unprecedented disease pass out at the earliest and life brought back to normal.
In India, the nationwide lockdown 3.0 has been declared for another 2 weeks from 4th May to 17th May. However, each state and districts within that state have differences in the directives and guidelines to be followed by zone classification. On the whole, the state/districts have been divided into 3 zones i.e. red, orange and green – red zone termed as hot spots and are in total lockdown, orange having past positive cases but not anymore where some relaxations allowed and green being totally clean of any cases and no lockdown.
Our Kangra district where we have – Upper TCV, Lower TCV, Gopalpur and Suja is under orange zone. By this, people can go out of their homes to buy essentials from 9 AM-2 PM daily. Shops and restaurants are opened partly, but people are not allowed to sit and eat in the restaurants. They can order and take away the food items home. Private cars and taxis can move around during the relaxation period within the district, but with only 50% passengers, keeping the social distancing guidelines in mind and with face masks on when they go out. However, air, rail and public road transportations are still on lockdown. Likewise TCV Chauntra in Mandi District and TCV Selakui/ITI Selakui are also under orange zone with relaxation as per their district relaxation directives.
In Karnataka State in the South, TCV Bylakuppe is located within the Tibetan Settlement where there is no case of any outbreak so far but all precautionary measures are in place by the settlers themselves as per guidelines of the local authorities and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) but lockdown is in place as of present. Although Bangalore is under red zone, but the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education (DLIHE) being situated on the city outskirts is safe enough. The Institute has been closed down since the first lockdown and except for students coming from far off distances, others have been sent home. For those remaining, the management is taking all necessary steps to ensure safety in the campus.
In Ladakh, unfortunately two new positives cases have been reported recently and so Leh district is under red zone. But since 3rd March with our school closure, children continue to remain with their parents and relatives. Our biggest concern is the Old People Home that we have in Choglamsar but all precautionary measures being taken for their good care and safety. In Jangthang – Hanley, Sumdo and Nyoma, there is no case of the outbreak but the schools are also closed for safety measure.
The two Youth Hostels – Delhi and Bangalore which are under red zone, are also closed and except for those students coming from far off places, the rest have left and those remaining are safe and sound. The Delhi Day School and the Mcleod Day school are also closed since 3rd March.
Although our schools are closed now for almost two months, but our subject teachers particularly for those in higher classes are doing online teachings in English, Tibetan, Science, Mathematics etc., The Department of Education of the CTA is taking the lead supporting and financing the online teachings with our subject teachers and others as resources. We take this opportunity to thank the DoE as it has benefited many students. Many of our teachers are also arranging online teachings on their own initiations from their homes. We are encouraging them for continuation and if needed, seek support from the Head Office.
On reopening of our schools, we will know only after the lockdown 3.0 what the Centre and the State Governments announces. The CTA has announced that all Tibetan schools will remain closed till 5th June, 2020. Given the number of children that we have (over 7500) in our different branches and presently under lockdown in different states across the country – red, orange and green zones, we need to proceed carefully considering how situation improves for the better in the whole country. We might even decide reopening in a phase out class-wise manner, if it deem necessary, to ensure safety of our children.
I am sorry for this long letter and taking your precious time to read through. But since our sponsors are so dear to us and are the life line of our work for the care and education of our children, I feel it is important to inform you all and stay safe!
With best wishes,