Chandigarh, Sep 21 (PTI) After remaining shut for the past six months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, schools in Haryana partially reopened on Monday to enable students studying in Classes 9 to 12 to visit their institutions on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.
The Haryana government had recently allowed students of class 9 to 12 to visit their schools in areas outside COVID containment zones only, on voluntary basis for academic guidance.
The decision was taken in compliance with the Unlock-4 guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The students carried written permission that had consent of their parents or guardians allowing them to visit schools for guidance from teachers.
Schools were asked by authorities to follow all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently.
Though the overall number of students who turned up in schools on the first day was less, the number was more in government schools while only a few turned up in private schools, officials said.
In view of the lockdown imposed earlier and due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, schools have remained shut for the past six months, though online teaching is being imparted by schools.
A principal of a government school in Sirsa said that students of higher classes, who wished to visit the school to seek teachers' guidance, were allocated different time slots to ensure only a few students are present inside the school at a given time.
She also said that despite education being imparted online these days, as schools are shut, many students were excited to visit the school after a long gap and meet their teachers.
'The teachers too were happy to see them after months. We are taking every precaution in view of the pandemic and following all the government guidelines,” she said.
While students at many places said they were happy to be back in school, even if regular classes had not resumed yet, there were some parents who were apprehensive as coronavirus cases had surged in the state and elsewhere.
Ambala's Deputy District Education Officer Sudhir Kalia said all students were required to wear masks, their body temperature was checked and hands were sanitised at the entrance gate of schools and to ensure social distancing only a few students were made to sit at a given time.
Teachers were instructed not to share books, dusters, chalks with either students or other teachers.
Some schools had installed foot pedals to control water taps.
Only one student at a time was allowed to go to the toilet, which was regularly cleaned, officials said.
It has been made mandatory for teachers to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones and all were required to take a COVID-19 test before September 21.
Twenty-eight more COVID-19 fatalities in Haryana pushed the death toll to 1,177, while 1,818 new coronavirus cases took the state’s infection tally to 1,13,075 on Monday, according to the state health department. PTI SUN CORR VSD ANB ANB ANB