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SCHOOLS ARE all set to reopen on January 8 even as the harsh weather and dense fog continued with the city recording its coldest night on Friday at 3.2 degrees Celsius, two notches lower than normal. There are no changes in school timings, too.
Sources said Punjab has rescheduled school timings to accommodate students and staff during winter. To this effect, teachers’ associations in the city wrote to the authorities on Saturday to either extend the winter vacation or reschedule timings according to Punjab. However, Rubinderjit Singh Brar, Director (School Education), said, “As of now, schools will open from Monday. If there are any changes, we will inform the schools accordingly.”
Swarn Kamboj, President, UT Cadre Educational Employees Union, requested the authorities to extend the winter vacation up to Saturday (January 13).
In a letter addressed to UT Education Secretary B L Sharma, he wrote, “Government schools should get an extension of holidays up to Saturday because children will not only find it difficult but impossible to attend school, especially students of lower classes. If schools remain open, children could fall ill which will not only pose difficulties for teachers but parents, too.”
According to a circular issued by the Directorate of School Education, Chandigarh Administration, the education department can give three additional holidays during the summer or winter break “keeping in view the extreme weather conditions”.
Arvind Rana, president, SSATWA, said, “The need of the time for the education department is to take a timely decision to either extend the vacation or reschedule timings as done by Punjab. It will be difficult for students to report to school at 8 am due to the cold and fog.”
In his letter to Rubinderjit Singh Brar, Rana wrote, “It is requested to either extend the vacation or reschedule timings. In the vacation schedule, there is a provision to declare three-day additional vacation in case of extreme weather conditions.”
Anuja Sharma, Principal of DAV Model School, Sector 15, Chandigarh, said, “I am aware that most schools are reopening on January 8. There’s no intimation from the education department on the extension of holidays or change in timings yet. However, my school and all other DAVs are reopening on January 11. My daughter studies in Sacred Heart. So, I hope the education department extends the holidays as it is extremely cold.”
Some pre-schools in the city, however, will reopen after January 8. Nitin Goyal, President of the Chandigarh Parents’ Association, said, “Pre-schools are not regulated by the education department. However, the general consensus among parents is that the department should at least change the timings from 8 am to 10 am due to the fog. Otherwise, there were mixed responses to the extension of holidays.”
Dense fog to continue: MET
The day temperature, however, saw a slight increase on Saturday and was recorded at a maximum of 17.3 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal.
A Met department said, “The night temperature can further decrease in the coming days,” adding, “there is improvement in visibility, but fog will continue to remain dense to very dense in some patches of the city.”
The flight and train schedules continue to be affected. The visibility around the airport area remained less than 50 m at 8.30 pm and the same remained around 1500 m in most of Chandigarh. Last year, the minimum temperature in the city plunged to as low as 2.7 degrees Celsius.
The Met dept said, “Mainly clear sky. Moderate to dense fog likely during evening/morning. There will not be any major change in temperature on Sunday.”