Schools in some states will partially reopen from Monday after more than five months of a lockdown enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The states are Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Nagaland and Madhya Pradesh.
The Centre had last week allowed the partial reopening of schools on a voluntary basis for Classes 9 to 12 from September 21 and issued the Standard Operating Procedure. However, online and distance learning would continue to be permitted as well as encouraged.
Physical distancing, masks and sanitisers would be compulsory for all students, teachers and other employees. The schools should operate on 50% of the total strength, but students and teachers living in containment zones would not be allowed. Only asymptomatic teachers, non-teaching staff and students would be permitted inside the campus.
Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have announced that they will not allow classes to resume from Monday. In Punjab, only higher education institutes will reopen for PhD and post-graduate students pursuing technical and professional courses that require them to do experimental work, according to the Hindustan Times.
In Andhra Pradesh, public and private schools that are not located in containment zones would reopen from Monday. Students would be allowed to visit their schools on a voluntary basis but only to clear their doubts from teachers.
This facility is available only to students who live outside the containment zones and have a written consent from their parents or guardian. Regular classes will remain closed till September 30.
Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh said the administration was planning to reopen schools around October 5, according to The Hindu. “But the final decision will be arrived at depending on the pandemic conditions and the Unlock 5.0 guidelines by the Centre,” Suresh added. “This uncertainty is causing a great deal of worry to all of us and we want to see normalcy returning to school campuses.”
Schools in Assam will reopen for Class 9 to Class 12 students from Monday amid strict guidelines issued by the state government.
Classes will resume from Monday for the next 15 days following which the situation will be reviewed again. While all government schools will reopen, private institutes have been asked to take a call on whether they want to resume classes.
A standard operating procedure was issued by the secondary education department on Wednesday to maintain physical distancing norms and other precautionary measures against the coronavirus outbreak. Each classroom will not have more than 20 students at a time. Besides this, school timing will be divided in two batches: from 9 am to 12 noon, and 1 pm to 4 pm.
The lessons would be held on a rotational basis. Classes for students of Class 11 and Class 12 would be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while students from Class 9 and Class 10 can approach their teachers on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
In Haryana too attendance would not be compulsory and students can go to school on a voluntary basis from Monday. But only those students who have a consent form from their parents would be allowed entry.
The Directorate of School Education on Saturday directed all district education officers to ensure that standard operating procedures are in place before schools partially reopen. The department asked all district education officers to ensure that teachers get a Covid-19 test and download the Aarogya Setu app on their phones.
Besides this, there would be mandatory thermal screening for students and teachers at entry points.
Earlier, the education department had conducted trial classes for board students at Government Senior Secondary School in Nigdhu, Karnal and Bazidpur Saboli in Sonepat to assess whether the situation was conducive to allow schools to reopen partially.
The Madhya Pradesh government will also reopen schools partially so that students of Classes 9 to 12 are able to go clarify their doubts from teachers. But no regular classes would be conducted.
The teachers, however, will now have to come to school on regular basis from Monday and have been directed to conduct their online classes from there, according to Times Now.
Regular classroom teaching remains suspended in Meghalaya till September 30, but students of Class 9 to Class 12 can visit their schools to get doubts cleared by teachers, according to PTI.
As per the guidelines issued by Education Department Principal Secretary DP Wahlang, “regular” classroom activities in schools, colleges and other educational institutions would remain closed till September 30 across the state.
Students who intend to attend the teacher-student counselling would have to get the written consent of their parents or guardians to visit the schools and educational institutions. Schools should have flexibility in school timings, students visit and uniform code and ensure short duration visit of students, the notification said.
Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said the state government has also rationalised the school curriculum for this academic year and adjusted academic calendar for all levels in view of the pandemic.
Jammu and Kashmir
Schools in Jammu and Kashmir would open with 50% attendance of staff and students. However, attendance would not be compulsory. Officials said parents can decide whether they want to allow their children to attend the classes.
Up to Class 8, only 50% of both teaching and non-teaching staff would be allowed to report every day. Students of Class 9 to Class 12 would be allowed to visit school on a voluntary basis. Besides this, online classes and digital education learning will continue as usual.
Schools in Nagaland would reopen from Monday but only for students of Classes 9 to 12 on a voluntary basis for those who need academic guidance from teachers.
State Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said that up to 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff, residing outside containment zones, may be permitted to be called to schools at a time, according to The Sentinel.