Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar Wednesday clarified that classes for 10th and 12th standard students across the state will reopen as per schedule from January 1. Addressing the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Zilla Panchayats via video conference, the minister said CEOs across districts were overseeing and implementing preparations for the same. “They have been directed to adhere to the rules issued by the department and the government,” Kumar said.
He added that teachers will also be asked to mandatorily wear face shields and a mask “in a bid to uphold safety.” While all teachers have been asked to get a Covid negative report 72 hours prior to entering the school, Kumar said Covid tests would not be made mandatory for around 16 lakh students studying in Classes 10 and 12. “Instead, students will be shifted to an isolation room and then to a hospital for other procedures in case they develop symptoms,” he said.
Reacting to the issue of teachers being asked to be on Covid-related duties, Kumar promised that the concerned authorities “will be asked to relieve all SSLC and Vidyagama teachers from pandemic-related duty.”
Kumar also clarified that mid-day meals would not be provided and instead a grocery kit would be delivered to them at their doorstep.
“This is done as per the order by the central government and the recommendation by the Covid-19 Technical Advisory committee. While we are not allowed to serve mid-day meals or carry out the Ksheera Bhagya programme in school premises, considering children hailing from poor communities we will discuss further with experts to see if there can be a solution to this,” he said.
The minister also announced that all government schools in Karnataka will soon be connected with high-speed internet facilities in partpossible with Bharat Net, a rural broadband project operated by the Department of Telecommunications.
“Preliminary discussions have been held with relevant departments on this to enable us to implement the first phase at the cluster level. This is expected to be realised within the next one year,” he said. Kumar added that this decision would provide a new direction to the government school education system in the near future.