After six months of being shut due to the pandemic, schools in Assam are set to reopen on Monday on a “voluntary basis”, in adherence to Unlock 4.0 guidelines set by the Union Home Ministry. “Students of classes 9, 10 , 11 and 12 may attend schools/ colleges only if they have a written consent from their parents,” state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told media persons on Saturday.
After releasing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the reopening process on Wednesday, the Assam government clarified on Friday that attending schools was not compulsory for all and was specifically for the students to seek guidance.
“The standard operating procedure for fresh re-opening of schools in the state of Assam from class 9, 10, 11 and 12 in the schools and colleges maintaining all the protocols of safety guidelines under the COVID-19 pandemic involves partial resumption in activities in schools for the students of classes 9th to 12th on a voluntary basis for taking guidance and counselling from the teachers”
As per the SOP — which is operative for 15 days — the reopening exercise will involve the students attending school on designated days. While classes for 9 and 12 will be conducted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, classes for 10 and 11 will be conducted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with 50 per cent staff in attendance. For every class, the students will be divided into two batches — the first batch will attend from 9 am to 12 pm and the second batch from 1 pm to 4 pm.
The SOP also mentioned that regular random checking and testing of 10 percent of teachers and students will be done on a weekly basis. The order is applicable to all categories of educational institutions — government and private. “If we see that a particular school has many cases of Covid-19, the concerned authorities will take a call whether to keep it open,” said Sarma.
Assam has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases recently, recording a tally of more than 1.5 lakh total cases, and 29,362 active cases currently. Meghalaya and Nagaland are the other two states in the Northeast that have allowed partial reopening of schools for students of class 9 to 12 from September 21.
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