While the Unlock 5.0 guidelines issued on September 30 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) put the onus of reopening educational institutions on the states and union territories, schools in several parts of the country are yet to welcome students back to the campus in view of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The government had given states and union territories the flexibility to decide on reopening schools and colleges in a graded manner, based on the assessment of the local COVID situation and strict compliance with the SOPs. According to the guidelines, written consent of parents/guardians is mandatory before students resume in-person learning.
While a majority of states that had reopened schools last month for the senior classes are continuing to provide on-campus learning, some states such as Mizoram and more recently, Haryana, had to shut down schools again due to a spike in coronavirus cases.
Here’s the current status on school reopening for various states.
States where schools are yet to reopen
Karnataka: On November 23, the state government took a decision not to reopen schools till December end. “According to the opinion of education experts, we should not start any classes in schools or PU colleges till December end, and a decision should be taken after that. In the few engineering colleges that had resumed classes the attendance is under 5 per cent. So, we will meet against in December-end and take an appropriate decision at that time according to the (coronavirus) situation,” chief minister BS Yediyurappa said.
Tamil Nadu: Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu government had to reconsider its decision to reopen schools in the state for classes 9 to 12 due to rising coronavirus cases in the state. “Re-opening of schools is deferred for now. Order for re-opening of schools for classes 9, 10, 11 & 12 from November 16 is withdrawn. Final year students and research scholars will be allowed to attend classes & stay in hostels,” chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami said.
Haryana: After reopening schools earlier this month for classes 9 to 12, on November 20, the Haryana government announced its decision to close all government and private schools in the state till November 30. “All government and private schools will remain closed in Haryana till November 30 in view of COVID-19 situation,” the state government order said.
Madhya Pradesh: On November 14, the state government announced its decision to reopen schools only for students of classes 9 to 12 by the end of this month. Decision on reopening schools for lower classes has not yet been announced.
Gujarat: On November 19, the state government announced its decision to not reopen schools and colleges in the state from November 23 as decided earlier this month. Issuing an order, the state government said that the decision was taken in view of the rising cases of coronavirus in the state.
Delhi: Schools in the national capital will continue to stay shut until further order from the government. “All schools in Delhi will continue to be closed till further orders in view of the Covid-19 situation,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia announced on October 28.
West Bengal: Earlier this month, the West Bengal government decided against reopening of schools, colleges and other educational institutes. Educational institutes in West Bengal would remain closed till November 30 as per state govt. orders.
Rajasthan: The state home secretary issued an order on November 18 clarifying that educational institutes would remain closed till November 30, 2020. Date for reopening would be issued after assessing the situation at the end of the month.
States where schools have opened partially
Punjab: Schools in the state reopened on October 19 for classes 9-12 in compliance with the COVID-19 norms.
Andhra Pradesh: Schools in the state reopened in a phased manner. For students of class 9 and 10, the schools reopened on November 2, for class 8, it reopened on November 23, and for students of class 1 through 5, the classes are slated to start on December 14.
Uttar Pradesh: Schools in the state were reopened for classes 9 to 12 in a graded manner last month. As per the state government, students are allowed to visit their school with parental consent.
Assam: Schools reopened in the state on November 2 for students of class 6 onwards. The education department in Assam decided that students of classes 6, 7, 9 and 12 will have in-person learning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of every week while those of classes 8, 10 and 11 will come to school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Uttarakhand: Schools reopened in the state earlier this month for classes 10 and 12 students in strict compliance with the Covid-19 guidelines.
Maharashtra: Following state government’s orders, schools in parts of Maharashtra are set to reopen from November 23 after eight months. Schools in Mumbai, Pune City, Aurangabad City, Nashik, Pimpri Chinchwad would, however remain closed for now in view of the rising coronavirus cases.
Goa: Schools in the state reopened on November 21 for classes 10 and 12 after eight months. The state government has asked the schools to strictly observe the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) like thermal screening of students, hand sanitising, wearing of masks, social distancing in classrooms, etc.
Sikkim: According to the calendar prepared by the state education department last month, students of classes 11 and 12 will be able to attend schools on a voluntary basis with a written permission from parents or guardian from October 19. Similary, classes 6-8 will resume on November 2, and classes 3, 4 and 5 on November 23, all on a voluntary basis, and subject to the COVID-19 situation prevailing at that time.
Himachal Pradesh: Schools reopened on November 2 after more than seven months in Himachal Pradesh for students of classes 9 to 12 in adherence with the Covid-19 guidelines.
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