It's back to school but with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. In most cases, classes will function at half capacity and parental consent will be needed.
There's good news for homebound students and anxious parents. Several states have tentatively allowed the reopening of schools, albeit with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, as the infection subsides.
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The Gujarat government has allowed schools to reopen for classes 9-11 from July 26 with 50 percent seating capacity. Students who wish to attend offline classes are to submit a consent form signed by their parents. It is not mandatory for students to attend physical classes and online classes will continue. News agency ANI has tweeted on this.
Gujarat | Schools for classes 9th to 11th reopen from today, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols"In offline classes, we are able to clear our doubts with more ease. It is more fun than online classes," says a class 9 student in Gita Higher Secondary School in Ahmedabad pic.twitter.com/gijED4IAJ4— ANI (@ANI) July 26, 2021
It was only last week that the Gujarat government had decided to reopen physical classes for Class 12 students, colleges and technical institutions as there has been a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state. The schools have been asked to follow all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to COVID-19 such as maintaining social distancing and wearing of masks.
Besides Gujarat, several other states have allowed schools to reopen with cases declining. However, the states have issued specific COVID-19 guidelines for the schools to follow.
The Madhya Pradesh government has allowed students of classes 11 and 12 to return to school. The schools are allowed to operate with 50 percent capacity. Classes 9 and 10 will reopen from August 5. Classes will be held only for two days for students of standards 11 and 12 . Class 11 students will come to school on Mondays and Thursdays while Class 12 students will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Classes 9 and 10 will function on Saturdays and Wednesday, respectively.
Morning assemblies and swimming in schools have been banned. The government has instructed schools to ensure COVID-19 tests on students and teachers. Teachers have been asked to get their shots and vaccination camps will be held in schools.
The Odisha government announced the reopening of schools from July 16 and issued relevant guidelines. As per the government directive, no school in containment zones can reopen. Students will attend schools after consultation with their parents and no student should be forced to attend.
Also, students, teachers and employees from containment zones are not allowed to attend school. For students who avail transportation facilities, only 50 percent occupancy in the vehicles will be allowed. Every bus has to be adequately sanitised before picking up and dropping students.
Though Andhra Pradesh is yet to announce its reopening of schools and colleges, an SOP has been drafted, titled ‘A period of educational crisis: Alternative initiatives – a prophetic model with reference to Andhra Pradesh,’ by Senior Professor of Education, former dean and faculty of Andhra University, Nimma Venkata Rao. He has suggested that classes be conducted thrice a week.
He has proposed that students of classes 1 and 2 attend school in the mornings, with other classes in the primary section being held in the afternoon. Classes 6 and 7 can operate in the morning while other classes can be held in the afternoon. To replace mid-day meals, dry rations can be delivered directly to homes of these students.
The Haryana government allowed the opening of schools from July 16. Students of classes 9 to 12 are allowed to attend with the written consent of their parents. Classes will be held only from 9 am to 12 pm. Only 12-14 students would be allowed to sit in one classroom.
Students would be divided into two parts, with the first 50 percent of students coming to class for the first three days and the balance 50 percent attending for the next three days. Students are not allowed to share stationery items and are to only sit in their earmarked bench.
Staff and teachers are to be fully vaccinated.
Himachal Pradesh has allowed the opening of classes 10-12 from August 2. The students and teachers, including the school staff, need to be fully vaccinated in order to attend the offline classes.
Other states are expected to announce their own schedules for reopening schools in the coming weeks, barring Delhi, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST