While the Central government has given a go ahead for graded reopening of schools from October 15, many states including Delhi, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh have deciding against it while others such as Haryana and Meghalaya are still unsure and are assessing the situation in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Universities and schools across the country were ordered shut on March 16 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. On March 25, the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown. While several restrictions have been eased gradually in different phases of the ‘unlock’ since June 8, educational institutions continue to remain closed.
However, according to the latest unlock guidelines, schools, colleges and other educational institutions outside COVID-19 containment zones can reopen after October 15. The final decision on reopening the institutions has been left with the states and Union territories.
Delhi government has decided to maintain the status quo on schools’ closure till October 31 following which a review of the situation will be done.
The Uttar Pradesh government has announced that schools outside containment zones will reopen from October 19 for students of classes 9 to 12. According to Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, classes will be held in shifts and all necessary protocols including social distancing and proper sanitisation of premises will have to be followed by schools. Students will only be allowed to attend classes after furnishing written permission from their parents or guardians.
The Karnataka government has said it is in no hurry to reopen schools and will take a call on the issue after evaluating all aspects. “Neither our government nor the Department of Education is rushing to open schools under any circumstances. The health and safety of our children is very important to us,” said Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar.
The Chhattisgarh government has said schools in the state will continue to remain closed till further orders in view of the pandemic. The Maharashtra government has said it will assess the COVID-19 situation post-Diwali and till then schools will continue to remain closed.
“Schools will not reopen in Maharashtra till Diwali is over. After Diwali, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will assess the situation before taking any decision,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said. The Gujarat government has also said it is likely to consider reopening schools only after Diwali
The Meghalaya government has sought feedback from parents before taking a final decision on reopening of schools in the state. According to Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, the state government has decided that upper primary schools will be reopened only for clearing studies-related doubts of students of classes 6, 7, and 8, as is being done for the secondary and higher secondary school students from October 15.
The Puducherry government has announced that students from grade 9 to 12 will have classes from October 8.
According to Puducherry’s Director of Education Rudra Goud, classes would be held only for half a day on all six days in a week until further orders. While students of grades 9 and 11 will have classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, those in classes 10 and 12 will have them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The attendance would not be compulsory and classes are meant for doubt clarification and guidance only.
While the Haryana government is contemplating reopening schools for classes 6 to 9 to enable the students to take guidance from teachers, no final decision has been taken yet.
The Andhra Pradesh government has also decided not to resume normal classes till November 2. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said a decision on reopening of schools will be taken only after mid-November.
The education ministry released guidelines last week for the reopening of schools, including for thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises, flexibility in attendance, no assessment for up to three weeks and ensuring a smooth transition from home-based schooling during the coronavirus-induced lockdown to formal schooling.
It also asked the states and Union territories to frame their own standard operating procedures (SOPs) for health and safety precautions, based on their local requirements.
India’s COVID-19 tally of cases has raced past 70 lakh, 13 days after it had crossed the 60-lakh mark, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease has crossed 60 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. The national recovery rate stands at 86.17 per cent.
The COVID-19 caseload mounted to?70,53,806 with 74,383 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,08,334 with 918 people succumbing to the disease within a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.