With the cases of infection surging by the day, the state governments are still in two minds for reopening of schools. In addition to this, parents of students across the country are yet not ready to send their children to school. This has definitely caused the state education ministries to keep the schools shut. However, it is affecting the academic year and is leading to a backlog in student’s educational progress. Although the centre hasn’t made the reopening of schools mandatory, it has issued certain regulations that include allowing only those schools to reopen that are situated outside the containment zone. Following the strict COVID-19 norms are also a part of the released regulations. Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had released detailed guidelines for reopening of schools and colleges in the country in a graded manner, starting from October 15.
Some schools have re-opened partially for 9-12 standards from 21st September during Unlock 4.
The state-wise decision of reopening of schools
Each state government, depending on the COVID situation in its state, will be taking decisions regarding the reopening of schools. The details of a few states have been mentioned below:
The Maharashtra government is planning to reopen school post-Diwali. “Schools will not reopen in Maharashtra till Diwali is over. After Diwali, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will assess the situation before making any decision,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.
The government announced that schools outside the containment zone will reopen from October 19 for 9-12 grade.
The government of Punjab has rolled out fresh guidelines for the reopening of schools from 15th October. As per the notification, only classes 9-12 students will be allowed, and only 20 students per section are allowed until the time situation falls back to normal.
The Delhi government has permitted students of classes 9 to 12 to attend school and has ordered strict adherence to standard operating protocols (SOPs) issued by the government. The students are allowed with a consent letter from their parents or guardians.
Below mentioned is a list of states and their reopening dates for schools:
- Andhra Pradesh Opening in November
- Gujarat Opening after Diwali
- Maharashtra Closed till October 31
- Mizoram Reopening from October 16
- Punjab Re-opening on 19 October
- Uttrakhand Opening from 1 November
- Karnataka Closed till October 31
- West Bengal Remain closed till Diwali
- Haryana Dates to be announced
Some key guidelines issued for reopening of schools, colleges, educational institutions, and coaching institutions are as below:
- Online classes shall continue to be preferred and shall be encouraged.
- Students must be allowed to attend schools/colleges with parents’ consent only.
- Flexible attendance is encouraged and depends entirely on parental consent.
- Schools planning to reopen will compulsorily have to follow the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) as released by the Education Departments of states/UTs.
- Those students comfortable with online learning must be allowed to opt for it rather than attending physical lectures.
- States /UTs have prepared their own SOP for health and safety precautions for educational institutions based on the SOP to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education, Government of India, keeping local requirements in consideration.
- Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education have been allowed to decide on the timing of the Colleges/ Higher Education Institutions, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
- From 15th October, Higher Education Institutions are permitted to re-open for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students belonging to the science and technology stream requiring laboratory/ experimental works. This decision however completely depends on the state/UT administration.
Due to the increased dissent from parents, most states have decided to push the reopening of schools under the Unlock 5 relaxation of the lockdown phase.