Updated: August 2, 2021 10:41:43 pm
With India’s Covid infections plateauing at around 40,000 daily mark, the states are now mulling to resume physical classes in schools and other educational institutions.
While schools in Punjab and Chhattisgarh welcomed back their students on Monday, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are gearing up to reopen schools from August 16.
The education sector faced a severe blow since the pandemic forced the country to lock down in March last year and the educational institutions had to resort to online classes. While some states started physical classes in schools for Class 9, 10, 11, and 12 students with 50 per cent attendance earlier this year, they eventually had to revert to the online mode of teaching when the second wave struck.
Here’s a look at some of the states gearing up to reopen schools now
With Covid protocols in place, Punjab has reopened schools for all classes in the state from Monday. “All schools are allowed to open for all classes from 2nd August 2021. They shall follow proper protocol to ensure Covid-19-appropriate behaviour,” read the order issued by Additional chief secretary (home) addressed to deputy commissioners and police heads of all districts. The letter added that restrictions imposed earlier to contain Covid-19 have been further extended till August 10.
Punjab School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said that the department was in the process of issuing their own departmental orders and set of guidelines for the schools that they have to follow on reopening.
The Chhattisgarh government too reopened educational institutes from Monday, but with certain conditions. Classes for the 10th and 12th grades began today while colleges will reopen in a stage-wise manner. The cabinet decided that the area where an institution is needs to have zero active Covid-19 cases. The schools will be allowed to open only if the local representatives for the area, gram panchayat for the villages and councillor for the urban areas, along with the parents give their approval.
School principals and teachers have also received instructions regarding ensuring social distancing and access to water and soap for all the children. They are also entrusted to ensure that any student showing symptoms like cough and cold would be asked to stay at home.
High and intermediate schools in Uttar Pradesh will resume physical classes from August 16, but with 50 per cent attendance, an order issued by the state government has said. Apart from this, instructions have also been issued regarding the commencement of classes in higher educational institutes from September 1.
“Students of high school and inter classes will participate in the 75th Independence Day celebrations on August 15. And on August 16, teaching will commence in the schools with half capacity, while adhering to the COVID-19 protocol,” PTI quoted Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Navneet Sehgal as saying.
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.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed officials to complete the process of revamping schools according to the NEP system by August 16.
According to the new system, Satellite Foundation Schools will offer two levels of pre-primary classes; Foundation Schools will offer education up to class 2; Foundation Plus Schools will offer education up to class 5; Pre-high schools will offer education till class 7; High Schools will offer education from class 3 to class 10 while High School Plus will offer education from class 3 to class 12.
At least 5,947 schools in rural Maharashtra, which had been closed due to the Covid pandemic, reopened on July 16 for classes 8 to 12 with safety protocols in place, reported PTI. The state government had issued a notification about restarting physical classes in those rural areas which are not reporting new Covid cases.
According to the state officials, the schools reopened after requisite resolutions were passed by respective gram panchayats and by adhering to all Covid-19 guidelines and protocols set by the government.
Schools in Gujarat have reopened for classes 9 to 11 on July 26, but with 50 per cent attendance. When classes 10 and 12 reopened in January 2021, the average attendance reported was nearly 45 per cent. This was when the first wave of Covid-19 was declining in Gujarat.
On July 22, the Gujarat government had declared that offline classes for classes 9-11 will resume and announced Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for schools to follow which include written consent from parents as mandatory though attending on-campus classes would be optional for students as attendance is not mandatory. Institutes have to ensure 50 per cent of attendance on alternate days.
The Madhya Pradesh government reopened schools for classes 11 and 12 with 50 per cent attendance from July 26. As per the standard operating procedure (SOP), physical classes for students of 9th and 10th standard are slated to resume once a week from August 5.
Classes are being held twice a week for students of classes 11 and 12, and virtual sessions are also there. Class 11 students attend school on Tuesdays and Fridays, while Class 12 students convene at schools on Mondays and Thursdays.
Students of Class 9 will attend school on Saturdays and for those in Class 10, sessions will be held on Wednesdays.
According to the guidelines, student gatherings such as morning assemblies and swimming lessons are not permitted. Apart from this, the state government has asked schools to undertake a slew of measures such as running Covid-19 tests on students and teachers.
Schools in Haryana reopened after almost three months only for classes 9 to 12 on July 16 amid strict Covid-19 protocols, with many students saying online education, although necessary at the time of pandemic, is not a substitute to classroom teaching.
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