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Covid protocol in place, Gujarat to reopen schools for classes 9-11 today

As per the SOPs issued by the education department, schools have to ensure social distancing between two students, face masks as compulsory along with Covid appropriate behaviour.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
July 26, 2021 12:55:44 am
Pune state education boardSingla said that school timings will remain the same (8 am to 2 pm) and parents will have to provide written consent before sending their children to schools. (Representational)

Schools are going slow on the Gujarat government’s date to reopen offline classes as many parents are yet to grant consent even for the 50 per cent attendance in classes 9 to 11, which are to reopen Monday.

When classes 10 and 12 reopened in January 2021, the average attendance reported was nearly 45 per cent. This was when the first wave of Covid-19 was declining in Gujarat.

On Sunday, 30 new cases of Covid were reported from Gujarat, while no death was reported due to Covid. As many as 3,22,664 persons were vaccinated till Sunday evening, making it over 3.16 crore individuals (3,16,30,281) vaccinated so far — 2,42,00,649 persons with the first dose and 74,29,632 persons with both the doses.

The education department is also seized of the deficit of nearly 3,000 classrooms projected to accommodate nearly 80,000 students, on account of the mass promotions announced due to the pandemic for schools under the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB).

On July 22, the Gujarat government had declared that offline classes for Classes 9-11 will resume and announced Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for schools to follow which include written consent from parents as mandatory though attending on-campus classes would be optional for students as attendance is not mandatory, institutes have to ensure 50 per cent of attendance on alternate days.

As per the SOPs issued by the education department, schools have to ensure social distancing between two students, face masks as compulsory along with Covid appropriate behaviour.

On-campus classes for Class 12 had resumed from July 15 along with technical and non-technical colleges. However, sources in the education department said that while nearly all government and grant-in-aid teachers concerning classes 9-12 had been covered by the vaccine, rendering them safe to teach offline, there might be pending cases in private schools.

“Since we are allowing 50 per cent students on alternate days, so far no special arrangements other than ensuring only one student sit on each bench and Covid appropriate behaviour have been made. Also, adhering to the standard operating procedures issued by the government is mandatory,” says president of Gujarat Self Financed School Management Federation Bharat Gajipara.

The president of the association with around 8,500 self-financed schools across the state under it with more than 30 lakh students says majority students are expected to join offline classes.

“The government under pressure from private schools have declared to resume schools but not many parents are ready,” said president of All Gujarat Wali Mandal. (Representational)

However, parents are not too keen to send their wards to schools from Monday. “The government under pressure from private schools have declared to resume schools but not many parents are ready. They plan to wait for one week at least as by then some clarity will be there if schools have resumed for fee collection or not,” said president of All Gujarat Wali Mandal Naresh Shah.

Among city-based private schools planning to open in the coming days, Riverside School will open on July 27. “We have given time limit to parents for consent letters till July 26 as we are opening the following day. The students’ attendance for Class 12 which resumed last week has improved,” the schools’ administrator Parul Patel said. With barely much time between the announcement and resuming of classes, the school decided to extend it by a day.

“It is only the first day where not many students are expected. The arrangements of double shift and increasing the student strength to 75 will be only seen and implemented in the days to come,” said Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) secretary Dinesh Patel.

In order to address any issue of admission in Class 11 in the wake of mass promotion for Class 10, the Gujarat Education Department has issued a Government Resolution on June 26 revising the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Act 1974. As per the amendment, schools can admit 75 students in the class in place of existing maximum permissible limit of 60 and an additional 5 students with the prior permission of education department.

The amendment applies for Class 9-11 for the academic session 2021-22 and for Class 10 and 12 during academic session 2022-23.
Further, the education department’s Government Resolution (GR) issued for this also allows schools to admit more than 75 students, if the infrastructure allows.

The Gujarat Education Department allowed schools to run in double shifts as well as increase its student strength in Class 11.
As a total 8,57,204 candidates of Class 10 were evaluated and mass promoted, the Gujarat education department had allowed schools to increase its strength from existing 65 to 75 and even above if infrastructure allows.

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