VoI Impact: After Vibes of India (VoI) paid a visit on Wednesday to The Toy Blocks Preschool which was operating offline, the school has shut down its offline operations until further notice. Parents have been asked not to bring their children to school until further notification.
It is not advisable for children under four years old to go to school or playgroups. Gujarat Government and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation clearly mandate that but Vibes of India found The Toy Blocks, an elite pre-school run by Torrent family, operating from its SG premises in Ahmedabad. On inquiry, VoI found that the pre-school has been flouting all rules and had been functioning for nearly the last 30 days forcing parents to bring their tiny tots to school.
The school which advertises itself as the number one preschool of Ahmedabad boasted of its “family connections” with a leading pharmaceutical company of India saying, they had special permission to run the preschool and house babies for two hours daily.
VoI investigation revealed that the founder of the school is Priyanka Mehta. She is the wife of Varun Mehta who is the son of Pharma tycoon of India, Sudhir Mehta of Torrent.
A number of parents complained to Vibes of India alleging that some staffers at the school were not vaccinated but the preschool was insisting that the toddlers come to school. Vibes of India has records to prove this.
When Vibes of India visited the premises on Wednesday at 9.30 am, there were parents who spoke on conditions of anonymity alleging the school of fluting rules. At 1.30 pm, when VoI visited again, there were no parents. In the morning, when VoI visited, there were toddlers without masks or any covid precautions. A parent later told VoI,” the school was not listening to us to suspend playdates and educational activities even if it was for kids between two to four years of age”.
School officials however claimed that they were organising play dates and the school was open to collect online study kits. When asked what online study kits did two and half-year-old babies require, the school had no answers.
When VoI approached the preschool, a staffer Ashini Shah Raikundalia exclaimed that she was intrigued “whether it was AMC in the premises”. Ashini refused to divulge details. Later, VoI met the school’s senior educator, Nandi Patel who said,“ the classes are online; however online school kits are provided to the parents’ of playgroup and nursery kids on a weekly basis. When asked why young kids were on the school premises, Ashini, said, “We have permitted parents to bring along their wards when visiting the school to collect kits.”
However, a parent, on conditions of anonymity said, “The classes are conducted online, but the school arranged play-dates twice a week for kids. And so, we are here. We are very scared to come but the school made it compulsory.
Ashini Raikundalila, however, said, “We don’t require permission as we haven’t made it compulsory for the parents to bring their kids. It’s the parents’ choice.” However, the parents, VoI spoke to declined this.
Senior Educator, Nandi told VoI that the school followed all Covid norms and rules and that parents and kids wore masks at all times when entering or exiting the school. However, VoI captured these tiny tots without any masks as they tagged along with their parents inside the school.
A parent also said, “a supervisor is not assigned to children during the play-dates, they are either by themselves or with their parents. There is no adult present to ensure that social distancing is followed by the tender aged kids.
Social distancing is not necessary as the campus is huge and the kids do not know each other very well as the entire curriculum has been online,” Nandi claimed
The Covid restrictions have been levied on all schools. Recently, offline classes have commenced for grades 9 and 11 with Covid-19 guidelines in Gujarat but the classes for lower grades still remain online. The Preschool, however, has kids from ages two to four coming for playdates with their parents for two days a week.
“It is very difficult to save the paediatric age group when the infection reaches their lungs as their lungs are very fragile, they can be prescribed with Remdesivir injections in lower doses; But, after kids are ventilated, there is a very low chance of their survival,” Dr Mona Desai, former President of Ahmedabad Medical Association, said.
According to the school’s website, it is facilitated by Nandi Patel, Nikita Khandelwal, Jalashree Kumar and Palak Mendiratta. The website lists Priyanka Mehta as the founder.
Inputs from Rushabh Joshi