Amid the rising cases of coronavirus COVID-19, the Centre issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for a partial reopening of schools for students of Classes 9-12. However, it has made it clear that it is not mandatory for educational institutions to resume schools from September 21 (Monday). The government has asked the states to take the final call on resuming classes.
Schools in the country were closed since March 2020 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but steps are now being taken by a few states to reopen the schools in the wake of ‘Unlock 4’ guidelines announced by the Centre. Notably, some states have decided to open schools from September 21, but only for classes 9 to 12.
In August, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued guidelines stating that schools and colleges will remain shut till September end, but they can call in 50 per cent of their teachers for facilitating online teaching. Accordingly, students of classes 9 to 12 were allowed to visit schools on a ‘voluntary basis’ to clear their doubts.
In accordance with the same, many states and UTs have announced their decision on resumption of normal classes. While the governments of Delhi and Haryana have given a nod to the opening of schools for students of classes 9-12, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala have decided to close the schools for September too.
Here are the states that have decided on reopening of schools from September 21:
Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had issued a notification last week stating that students of classes 9 to 12 can visit their schools, in areas outside containment zones, on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. According to the Delhi government, “All schools to continue to remain closed till September 30. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside containment zones only, on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers." "This will be subjected to the written consent of their parents/guardians and will be permitted with effect from September 21 for which, SOP will be issued by the Health Ministry to be followed by the schools,” it added.
Bihar: In Bihar, an order was issued by Patna's District Magistrate Kumar Ravi allowing educational institutions to resume classes for students of classes 9 to 12 outside the containment zones. The state government had decided to impose total shutdown in containment zones till September 30.
Haryana: In Haryana, the Manohar Lal Khattar government on Monday decided to start classes for students of Classes 10 to 12 in two state-run schools in Karnal and Sonipat districts on a trial basis after the vast majority of parents of the children in these two institutes gave their go-ahead.
A vast majority of the parents gave their written consent to the decision and it has been sent to the education department, officials said. Some parents reportedly said that as their children have to appear in board examinations and despite the best efforts of the teachers during online classes students are still left with doubts which can be cleared in face-to-face interaction. Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal told reporters in Hisar on Sunday that the state government was ready to open schools across the state once the Centre gives its nod, adding that the state authorities will need a few days to work out the modalities in view of the ongoing COVID pandemic once the nod comes.
Andhra Pradesh: Schools in Andhra Pradesh, however, are set to resume normal classes from September 21 for students of classes 9 to 12. The school authorities recently issued guidelines as COVID-19 cases are coming down in the areas outside the containment zones. The students living outside the containment zones would be allowed to visit their schools on a voluntary basis to clear their doubts and take guidance from their teachers. They would have to submit a written consent of their parents and guardians to their respective schools.
Uttar Pradesh: In Uttar Pradesh, one of the BJP-ruled states, schools and other education institutions are likely to remain shut this month due to rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Jammu and Kashmir: Schools to reopen in the erstwhile state on a voluntary basis from September 21.
Kerala: In a bid to contain COVID-19 cases, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to shut schools, colleges and other educational institutions this month.
Gujarat: After UP, Gujarat is the second BJP-ruled state which has decided against the resumption of normal classes from Monday, i.e, September 21.
Assam: In Assam, students of classes IX -XII can visit their schools, in areas outside containment zones.
Uttarakhand: The Trivndra Singh Rawat-led government has also decided to not open schools till the end of this month.
However, states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Manipur, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Odisha, Punjab, and others are yet to take a final decision on resuming classes.