After almost six-months, schools in some states will reopen their gates to students of Classes 9-12 with a long list of rules to be followed as per the Covid-19 protocol announced in Unlock 4 by the central government.
In the Unlock 4 guidelines, the union home ministry had permitted schools to reopen from September 21, Monday but left the final call to the states. It did, however, lay down a set of rules for schools to reopen. Students and teachers residing in containment zones are not permitted to attend schools. Schools are allowed to operate only with 50% teaching and non-teaching staff, while only students from classes 9 to 12 can attend, that too on voluntary basis. Students who do decide to attend have to get a permission slip signed by their parents or guardians. Since attendance will be on voluntary basis, schools that do decide to reopen will have to continue online classes for students who decide against attending physically.
Schools reopening should mandatorily have thermal scanners at the entrance, and students, teachers and other staff can enter only after temperature checks. Though not compulsory, schools have been advised to operate separate gates for entry and exit. Most importantly, everyone entering the school premises – be they teachers or students or non-teaching staff – have to wear face masks, and regularly sanitise their hands or wash them following the 20-second rule.
However, given the rising cases of Covid-19, many states have decided to keep schools closed for now. Delhi, which had earlier said senior students can come to schools for guidance if their parents permit, has decided against reopening schools till October 5. According to a report in news agency ANI, Karnataka too went back on its earlier plan and barred students of Classes 9 to 12 from visiting schools and pre-university colleges to meet teachers. Schools in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Uttarakhand will also not be reopening on September 21.
Here’s a list of states that have allowed schools to partially reopen schools from September 21, Monday:
Students of class 9 to 12 who live outside containment zones can attend school for guidance from teachers, after written consent from parents. According to a report in The Hindu, regular classes will remain suspended till September 30.
"We want to reopen schools tentatively on October 5. But the final decision will be arrived at depending on the pandemic conditions and the Unlock 5.0 guidelines," the state’s education minister Adimulapu Suresh had said at a recent press conference.
Classes will resume in government schools for standards 9th to 12th standard students for 15 days after which the government will conduct a review. Private schools in Assam have been allowed to decide on reopening. The state issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for school reopening on the lines of the Unlock 4 guidelines issued by the Centre. Attendance will be voluntary and parents will have to sign a consent slip.
Classes for 9th and 12th standard will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while 10th and 11th class students can attend on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. As per the Assam government’s SOP for schools, a classroom cannot have more than 20 students at any given time, and if needed schools can divide the classes into two batches, wherein the first batch attends from 9am-noon, and the second one attends between 1pm and 4pm.
Students from Class 9 to 12 are permitted to attend school to get doubts cleared by teachers on voluntary basis as per the SOP released by the state government. All district education officers have been tasked with ensuring that teachers take a Covid-19 test and have the Aarogya Setu app installed on their smartphones.
“Students will have to bring a written consent from their parents before coming to school. The students will also have to undergo thermal scanning before entering the school and wear face masks and adhere to safety guidelines,” the SOP said.
Himachal Pradesh too is giving students of Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 the option to come to school and get one-on-one guidance from teachers.
“The Cabinet gave its nod to open educational institutions outside containment zones in the state from September 21 as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with 50 per cent teaching and non-teaching staff for students from standards IX to XII, provided the students are willing to take guidance from teachers. For this, written consent of parents or guardians of the student is mandatory,” said a Himachal government statement.
Jammu and Kashmir
Apart from voluntary attendance and consent slips from parents, the J&K administration’s rules for school reopening include 50% attendance for staff up to Class 8.
“Up to Class VIII, only 50 percent staff will report every day while students of Class IX, X, XI, and XII can come on a voluntary basis with 50 percent attendance. It is up to the parents to decide whether they allow their children to attend the school. Online classes and other aspects of digital education will continue to function," an official from the J&K administration told the media.
Students are permitted on a voluntary basis and 50% teaching and non-teaching staff outside containment zones will come to school in Nagaland. "Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the containment zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers subject to written consent of their parents or guardians, subject to strict adherence to all the provisions in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)," a Nagaland government order said.
Regular classroom teaching remains suspended in Meghalaya till September 30, but students studying in Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 can visit their schools to get doubts cleared by teachers.