I have been getting several Whatsapp posts of the way many schools in Mumbai handled the rain fury of 29th of August and the fact that teachers stayed with students through the night to take care of them, how parents waded through neck deep water to reach stuck school buses etc. While commendable these also reflect the fact that the decision to evacuate was taken too late.
My daughter Suhani’s school however took action that was extremely commendable. An emergency meeting was called as early as 11 AM and the decision taken that students need to be sent home in a manner that they are home well before the high tide time of 4.30 PM. Wherever bus attendants were not available lady security staff was put on the buses with students. All parents were informed around 11.45-12 O Clock that the school is being closed early so that many who pick their children up could reach on time for the same. Buses of École Mondiale World School left well on time and all were out of school by 12.30 PM. Route checks were done and the Bandra Worli Sea Link was avoided as it as unsafe. Suhani reached home by 2 PM without us taking much of stress. I believe that this was a commendable pro active stance by the Principal of the School and other office bearers because of which both parents and students were not put through any stress.
It is somewhat although not directly comparable to happenings related to #RapistGurmeetSingh in Panchkula where the post event handling of the situation was swift however it led to damages. Proactive action is the best.
In case of many of the other schools either buses had to go back after being on the road for hours, students had to stay overnight etc. Evacuating buses at 2-3 PM was a very risky strategy given the high tide time and actually led to more stress. This day should be a lesson for the future where false bravado should be avoided in extreme circumstances as it is a question of young children, many of whom have not lived without their parents even for a day. Once again kudos to École Mondiale World School management for putting student interest first.