Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School (LMSS) under the Thimphu Thromde has started staggered timing as a Covid-19 prevention measure.

Students have to now report to school between 7:15am and 7:45am. The class will be over by 2:40pm.

LMSS’s Principal, Dawa Tshering, said the risks were high when all the commuters and students thronged into the city bus after 8am. “For a week, the school would observe the effectiveness of  this new timing.”

The idea of staggered timing came up following the meeting between officials from the Ministry of Education, Thimphu Thromde and principals from Thimphu schools held on May 27.

Officials discussed the use of city bus services and safety issues during the pandemic.

It was found that the city buses are crowded with students of thromde’s school and other passengers during peak hours. The other danger was using the same route by the students and commuters during peak hours.

Based on the meeting, schools agreed to carry out a study on using different modes of transportation by the students. Car pooling by the parents living in the same neighbourhood and introducing staggered time.

Thromde’s Chief Education Officer, Sangay Drukpa, said that the thromde requested the parents to bear with the new timing although it’s unconformable for some. “Most of the students who get mixed in the city bus with other commuters were from Lungtenzampa MSS, Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (HSS).”

Yangchenphug HSS follows usual school timing—8:15am to 3:40pm.

Sangay Drukpa said that thromde would implement such initiative for other schools depending on the situation. “We are trying this until midterm exams. Then we will revisit.”

Many parents say that the new timing is uncomfortable, especially for office goers.

Tshewang, a consultant, said he woke his daughter at 5:30am. “After dropping her at school, I have to come back home because it’s early to go to the office at 7:15am.”

Kinzang Lhamo had to drop her child at Lungtenzampa MSS from Jungzhina.

It would be difficult to pick my child after school, she said.

Lhachu Dema, a parent, however, is excited about the new timing. “The new timing was good. Students can learn more. The new timing would provide extra responsibility to students.”

By Thinley Namgay 

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk