Odisha allows partial reopening of schools for classes 9-12 'after Nov 15'

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(Eds: Updating with fresh development) Bhubaneswar, Oct 31 (PTI) The Odisha government on Saturday announced partial reopening of schools for students of classes 9-12 in a graded manner after November 15, but did not mention any specific date.

The School and Mass Education Department will declare the date later.

Earlier in the day, the state government issued an order saying that the classes for students of 9-12 will reopen from November 16. However, it later revised the order which did not mention any specific date on resuming classroom teaching.

The revised notification, issued by the Office of Special Relief Commissioner, said that the School and Mass Education Department will take an appropriate decision on the date of reopening of classes 9-12 'in a graded manner, after November 15, 2020 in consultation with relevant stakeholders and issue necessary guideline/SOP.' The department will also issue a standard operating procedure, it said.

Except this, all academic institutions across the state would remain closed till November 30.

The state government's notifications are part of its 'Unlock-6' guidelines, which were approved by Chief Secretary A K Tripathy.

Academic institutions, including coaching centres, have been closed since March in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order said notwithstanding closure of academic institutions, the authorities are permitted to conduct examinations (academic, competitive and entrance tests), evaluation and other administrative activities.

Online/distance learning will continue to be permitted and encouraged, it said, adding, that the departments concerned may permit teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to schools for online classes.

Higher education institutions will be permitted to open only for research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students in science and technology streams requiring laboratory work, the order said.

With regard to reopening places of worship, the state government said local authorities may issue such permits with appropriate restrictions and safety protocols, based on the assessment of the COVID-19 situation.

Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment complexes, theatres, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will continue to remain shut.

On further assessment, appropriate decisions will be taken on November 16 on reopening these establishments, the order said.

Open air theatres and similar places may be allowed to operate, subject to compliance of health protocols.

Marriage-related gatherings will be permitted with a ceiling of 200 people, and not more than 50 people will be allowed at funerals, it said.

Large social, political, sports and religious congregations are prohibited till November 30, except Election Commission of India approved meetings for by-elections, the state government order said.

International flight operations, too, will continue to remain shut till November 30.

There is, however, no restriction on inter-state movement. PTI AAM NN NN