The Odisha government on Saturday announced a partial reopening of schools for students of classes 9-12 from November 16. All academic institutions across the state, however, would remain closed till November 30.
The state government’s notifications are part of its ‘Unlock-6’ guidelines, which were approved by Chief Secretary A K Tripathy. “… The classes of 9 to 12 in schools under the control/superintendence/supervision of School and Mass Education Department will open from November 16, 2020 as per the guidelines/SOP to be issued by the S&ME Department,” an official order said.
Academic institutions, including coaching centres, have been closed since March in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order said notwithstanding closure of academic institutions, the authorities are permitted to conduct examinations (academic, competitive and entrance tests), evaluation and other administrative activities.
Online/distance learning will continue to be permitted and encouraged, it said, adding, that the departments concerned may permit teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to schools for online classes.
Higher education institutions will be permitted to open only for research scholars (PhD) and postgraduate students in science and technology streams requiring laboratory work, the order said. With regard to reopening places of worship, the state government said local authorities may issue such permits with appropriate restrictions and safety protocols, based on assessment of the COVID-19 situation.
Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment complexes, theatres, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will continue to remain shut. On further assessment, appropriate decisions will be taken on November 16 on reopening these establishments, the order said.
Open-air theatres and similar places may be allowed to operate, subject to compliance of health protocols. Marriage-related gatherings will be permitted with a maximum ceiling of 200 persons, and not more than 50 persons are allowed at funerals, it said.
Large social, political, sports, religious congregations are prohibited till November 30, except Election Commission of India approved meetings for by-elections, the state government order said.
International flight operations, too, will continue to remain shut till November 30. There is, however, no restriction on inter-state movement.