Barely a week after it started, Tripura has suspended its innovative ‘neighbourhood class’ project after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Nearly 800 fresh coronavirus cases have been reported in the state in the last two days. There is, however, no specific report indicating that the spread of COVID-19 was through these classes that were being held under trees, on pavements and in other innovative ways.
Speaking to reporters this evening, Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath said the decision had to be taken owing to a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases. “It is unfortunate that we have to temporarily suspend these neighbourhood classes. We tried our best to provide education to students unable to attend online classes. We are hopeful of resuming school work soon,” Nath told reporters.
In an order made available to indianexpress.com, Additional Secretary UK Chakma said that neighbourhood classes would remain suspended with effect from August 29 until further orders.
However, the order maintained that live classes in local television channels, broadcasting of recorded video classes by Doordarsha and local cable television channels, Ektu Khelo, Ektu Padho activities and classes through video conferencing mode would continue.
The ‘neighbourhood classes’ were necessitated after a survey of the education department revealed that 94,000 students could not access online classes due to lack of access to smartphones.
On August 20, Tripura became the first northeastern state to start classes for school students in an open environment while following the mandatory Covid-19 precautions.
Officials said they were following up on similar thoughts of unconventional classes in Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh etc.
A total of 1 lakh and 258 students in different places of the state attended these classes that commenced Thursday. The classes started with a ten-minute introduction on Covid-19 and suggestions on mandatory precautionary measures to the students. All the students needed to wear face masks and keep hand sanitizer with them during the ongoing classes. Each class has only one teacher and five students. Tripura has a total of 4,400 government schools with 27,000 teachers.
According to reports from Tripura COVID-19 control room, 93 people have succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic out of 10,436 people tested positive in different parts of the state till date. The figures have exponentially surged in the last few days, with 509, 385 and 329 fresh cases detected in the last three days, respectively.
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