Students from classes 9-12 can attend schools on voluntary basis from September 21, the Union Government announced on September 8.
However, several states announced that they would not reopen the schools till the end of September owing to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. The Centre allowed the state governments to take a final call on resuming in-person classes.
While schools are continuing with online classes, in-person classes have not been conducted in the country since March this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued guidelines for the safe and smooth reopening of schools partially for students of 9-12 who need to seek help or guidance of their teachers.
Taking the social distancing norms into consideration, the Centre is permitting only the schools that are not in containment zones to reopen. Also, only asymptomatic students and teachers would be permitted to enter the school premises.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in its Unlock 4 guidelines in August stated that schools will remain shut till the end of September. They, however, suggested that 50 per cent of the teachers could visit the premises and continue with online teaching.
Standard Operating Procedure
On September 8, the MoHFW further stated that they were reopening schools for classes 9-12 on a voluntary basis. The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) highlighted that students would have to seek written consent from their parents/guardians if they wanted to visit the school premises.
It would be the onus of the school to organize and schedule this meeting while following social distancing norms and complying that the teachers, students and the staff are all wearing masks.
The guidelines also insist on avoiding interactions indoors and prefer outdoor interaction between the students and teachers depending on the weather conditions. Detailed instructions on cleaning of premises, utilisation of laboratories and libraries, transportation, hand hygiene, using of pulse oximeters, criteria for allowing students are also a part of the SOP.
Schools are expected to have pulse oximeters and thermal scanners at the entrance. The students and teachers will be allowed to enter only after assessing their oxygen and temperature levels.
States On Reopening Of Schools
Even as the Centre aims for a smooth transition and reopening of activities, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country are constantly on the rise. Owing to the increasing cases, several states announced that they would not be reopening their schools. Some states have yet not made any announcements on the reopening.
While some states like Delhi earlier permitted the reopening only to cancel the order later, Punjab will only reopen colleges for PhD students while schools will continue to remain closed.
States where schools will partially reopen
Schools in Andhra Pradesh will resume normal classes from September 21 for classes 9-12. The state, with over 6 lakh cases, will partially reopen schools as per the government norms.
On the other hand, Assam is set to review the partial reopening of schools for 15 days. Private schools have been asked to take their own decisions. State government schools will conduct classes in staggered batches at 9 am and 1 pm for three hours.
Only 20 students will be permitted per class. Students from 9th and 12th will attend classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while students of 10th and 11th will attend classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
The Bihar government has no plans to reopen schools till September 30. The District magistrate of Patna, Ravi Kumar, said that classes for 9-12 will resume in non-containment zones from September 21.
Haryana is permitting reopening of schools only after the state conducted a trial to check the feasibility of resuming classes at two schools in Karnal and Sonepat. Classes for 9-12 will be resumed in all schools across the state.
Punjab is not reopening schools, but colleges for higher education involving technical and laboratory work are going to resume in the state. PhD and postgraduate students are permitted to visit their institutions.
Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Rajasthan are following the SOP issued by the Centre and are restarting classes on voluntary basis.
States where schools will remain shut
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier stated that classes for 9-12 would resume in the union territory. However, he has now announced that schools in Delhi would resume from October 5 owing to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Karnataka too has reversed its decision of reopening schools after the COVID-19 cases started rising in the state.
Education representatives from Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh,Uttarakhand, and West Bengal have announced that schools will operate online and continue to remain shut in their states till September 30.
States which have made no announcements
Although officials from Maharashtra stated that it would not be reopening schools, there has been no official announcement on the same yet.
Updated On: 2020-09-21T12:28:14+05:30