– Mita Mukherjee
Schools, colleges and universities in West Bengal will be shut down again from January 3 as a part of the fresh set of Covid related restrictions imposed by the state government in the light of rapid increase of daily infections including those of the Omicron variant.
Educational institutions will, however, be allowed to operate for administrative work with a maximum 50 per cent attendance, according to an order issued by the state government on Sunday evening. The fresh restrictions have been imposed on the basis of the recommendation of the executive committee of the West Bengal State Disaster Management Authority.
“All academic activities in schools, colleges and universities shall remain closed. Only administrative activities shall be permitted with 50 % of employees at a time,” according to the government order.
Schools, colleges and universities in Bengal had reopened for conducting in-person classes on November 16 after the campuses had remained closed for over 20 months.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 29 had hinted that schools, colleges and universities might be shut down if the situation demands. On the same day, she had asked concerned officials to review the Covid-19 situation in the state.
The decision to re-impose the restrictions has been taken after reviewing the current Covid-19 situation. The high rate of infectivity and multiple cases of Omicron variant prompted the government to introduce the restrictive measures, according to a senior official of the government.
The state government had sought daily reports of Covid positive cases from all schools, colleges and universities in the state on Friday to examine the rate of infection on the campuses before it took the decision on shutting down the institutions in the wake of a fresh surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.
West Bengal had been witnessing a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases over the past few days. As many as 4,512 fresh cases were reported on Saturday with 2,398 cases only in Kolkata.
The restrictive measures were announced by the state chief secretary H K Dwivedi on Sunday evening.
Apart from closing down schools, beauty parlours, swimming pools, entertainment parks, zoos, tourist places will also remain closed from January 3.
Shopping malls and market complexes will be allowed to operate with a maximum 50 per cent entry. Restaurants and bars, cinema halls and theatres too will be allowed to remain open 50 per cent of the capacity at a time up to 10 pm.News, States