With the number of Covid-19 cases decreasing, several states are planning to gradually reopen schools and colleges across the country. The educational institutes in the country have been closed for a long time. While many states like Punjab have already reopened schools, others are mulling to start offline classes by mid-August. Here is a list of the state-wise decisions on school reopening:
Maharashtra has announced the reopening of physical classes in schools in both rural and urban areas from August 17. Schools across the state have been closed since March last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit with classes being held online. The government is also mulling over resuming offline classes for other classes as well provided the COVID-19 infection rate in the area is low, an order issued by the state government said on August 10.
“Offline classes will commence in rural areas for students from classes 5 to 8, while those in cities will be for students from classes 8 to 12 following Covid-19 protocols,” Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said. On-campus classes, however, will be allowed only in the areas where Covid-19 infections are consistently low, the minister added.
“To avoid crowding, parents should be barred from entering the school premises. The number of students in a classroom can be around 15-20, seated six feet apart from each other,” she said.
Meghalaya is looking to reopen educational institutions after mid-August, Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said. Rymbui said there is a need to resume classroom teachings as soon as possible, especially in higher education institutes. “About 50 per cent of students eligible to avail COVID-19 vaccination have taken the vaccine. This is expected to increase further by mid-August,” he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in a meeting with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) decided to constitute a committee of experts to evaluate the matter of school reopening in the national capital.
The DDMA on Sunday stated that “students of classes 10 to 12 are permitted to visit their schools for admission-related work including counselling/guidance and practical activities related to board exams”. It also stated that health checkups and referral services conducted from schools can resume, which children of all ages may visit with their guardians.
The Karnataka government has decided to resume offline classes for students of class 9 and 10, and for pre-university college students (equivalent to Classes 11 and 12) from August 23. The decision was taken in a high-level committee meeting held by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
“We have decided to reopen schools in two phases. In the first phase, (offline) classes for students in grades 9, 10, and in PU will begin from August 23, subject to conditions. Students will be classified into two batches with classes being held on alternate days,” Bommai said.
The Uttar Pradesh state government had announced the reopening of schools for intermediate students from August 16, 2021, with 50 per cent capacity. Apart from this, instructions have also been issued for commencement of classes in higher educational institutes from September 1, the UP government said in a statement.
The HP government had reopened schools for classes 10 and 12 but has now revoked the decision. The schools in the state are shut for all classes till August 22. However, teaching and non-teaching staff shall attend the school. The government will soon release an SOP for the residential schools to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Schools across Odisha had reopened for students of classes 10 and 12 on July 26 after a gap of more than three months. The state government is also planning to reopen schools for classes 9 and 11 from August 16 and September 15 respectively, department officials said.
Andhra Pradesh will reopen schools from August 16 and the government plans to start schools according to the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) by introducing six types of schools — from Pre-Primary (PP)-1 to class 12, officials said Monday. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed officials to complete the process of revamping schools according to the NEP system by August 16.
Tamil Nadu state government has announced the reopening of schools for students of Classes 9-12 with 50 per cent capacity at a time following standard operating procedures from September 1. The School Education Department has been directed to make necessary arrangements. Earlier this week, teachers of government and government-aided schools returned to work.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government is weighing options for reopening schools and colleges on alternate days after the Durga Puja vacation in November. Educational institutions have been closed in the state since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year. “However, nothing has been finalised just yet,” Banerjee told reporters this week.
Jammu and Kashmir
All school and higher educational institutions, including coaching centres, shall continue to remain closed for onsite/in-person teaching, till further orders. However, the educational institutions are permitted to seek personal attendance of vaccinated staff/students for administrative purposes and Independence Day celebrations subject to a limit of 25 and strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour, Chief Secretary A K Mehta said.