March 19, 2021 6:15:57 am
The Gujarat government on Thursday decided to suspend all offline classes and examinations in schools and colleges in eight municipal corporations from Friday till April 10, as the state saw a four-fold increase in Covid-19 cases in a month, reporting 1,276 cases in a day on Thursday.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) announced more curbs, including closure of malls and multiplexes during weekend. Also, the night curfew has been extended by one hour — from 9 pm till 6 am from Friday. It was decided at a review meeting chaired by additional chief secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta and attended by municipal commissioner Mukesh Kumar along with deputy municipal commissioners and other senior officials.
The decision on academic activities was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and attended by Educa-tion Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Minister of State Vibhavariben Dave, Chief Secretary Anil Mukim, Principal Secretary (Education) Anju Sharma, Secretary Vinod Rao and other senior officials.
However, Rupani clarified that “there has been no talks (at the state-level) for a lockdown….there is no need to fear (for a lockdown)”.
Giving details, Chudasama said that taking into consideration the prevalent Covid-19 situation, classroom activities for primary, secondary, and higher secondary schools in eight municipal corporations – Ahmed-abad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Gandhinagar – will be suspended from March 19 till April 10.
However, online education and home learning activities will continue, while the first test of secondary and higher secondary schools scheduled to commence Friday will be held online, he said.
The closure of on-campus classes and examinations will only apply to all government and self-financed institutes in these eight municipal corporations, while it will continue as per schedule in the rest of the state, the minister said.
“The classroom activities in secondary and higher secondary schools in areas other than these eight cities will continue… Their first test will be conducted offline as per announced scheduled — from March 19 to March 27. The ongoing online education will also continue,” he said.
The Ahmedabad Municipal School Board through a circular Thursday evening directed all schools to postpone till further orders the ongoing first semester examinations of Classes 3 to 8 that began on March 15.
“From March 19, question papers along with answer sheets of remaining exams of classes 3 to 8 will be handed out to students at their homes barring those in the containment zones. Schedule of when these filled answer sheets are to be taken back will be announced later…,” the circular stated.
The Education Minister said that the offline examinations for undergraduate courses to be conducted between March 19 and April 10, 2021, have been postponed and the new dates will be announced by the universities. All educational activities will continue online till April 10.
The hostels of the universities will remain open and the students can stay in their rooms. Examinations, offline classes and practical sessions for postgraduates will continue routinely in the universities, Chudasama added.
Gujarat University final examinations being conducted offline commenced from Thursday, while examinations for Class 9 to 12 were to commence on Friday.
College and university students on Thursday faced a harrowing time reaching their examination centres in the city when the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) suspended the services of Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) and Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) from Thursday. The decision was taken late Wednesday, leaving no time for students to look for alternate commuting arrangements.
The past week saw a significant surge in Covid cases — from 675 on March 10 to 1,276 cases on Thursday. The number of patients on ventilators has been rising in the past week with Thursday reporting the highest in a month, at 63.
Surat Municipal Commissioner on Thursday took to social media to announce that all those coming to Surat city should fill a self-reporting form for their health condition. Surat city on Monday reported 315 cases and a death due to Covid-19.
From testing anywhere between 26,000 to 33,000-odd samples a day throughout the month of February, testing numbers have seen a slight increase, seeing more than 50,000 samples being tested each day since March 16. The test positivity rate now hovers at around two per cent, compared to 0.8 per cent a month ago.
In Ahmedabad city, private hospitals will resume “home care services” for Covid patients from March 19. According to the Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), “All Covid home care service providers will resume home care services from March 19. The charges for the home care services will be posted on the AHNA website and general public can check names of the service providers too on the website.”
Also, a dedicated call centre for information regarding home care services by private hospitals will be activated from March 20 that will function from 8am till 8 pm on weekdays and 9.30 am till 6 pm on weekends and holidays.
However, the AMC will not requisition any private hospital for Covid patients referred by the civic body for free treatment.
“Since cases are not very critical, these can be treated through home care services… ,” AHNA chairman Dr Bharat Gadhavi said. At present, the occupancy rate of private hospitals is nearly 20 per cent.
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