Patna, Jan 4 (PTI) All educational institutions in Bihar, including schools, colleges and coaching centres, reopened on Monday after a gap of over nine months.
Physical classes were held for students of standards 9-12 in schools and final year students in colleges. The institutions were closed since March 14 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Wearing of masks, use of hand sanitiser and maintenance of physical distancing have been made mandatory at the educational institutions. Schools have been asked to operate at half the strength to ensure social distancing in classes.
Attendance, however, remained thin as many parents were apprehensive of sending their wards to the educational institutions till they were vaccinated.
Many students, on the other hand, were enthusiastic about the development.
'I am happy that schools have reopened as students were getting badly affected. Most of the children studying in government schools do not have laptops to carry out online studies. Our syllabus is lagging and we will work hard to cover it,' a class 9 student of Patna's Miller High School said.
Another class 11 student said that though COVID-19 fears loom large, studies are equally important and cannot be missed, while assuring that safety protocols will be maintained.
Teachers too seemed happy to be able to take physical classes again.
'It is good that we are getting an opportunity to teach students in physical classrooms. All these months we used to come to schools but did not have teaching work,' an educator of Miller High School said.
The attendance of class 11 and 12 students is lesser than that of class 9 and 10 pupils, he said.
Students have to bring consent letters from their guardians to be able to attend the classes, another teacher said.
Many guardians, however, fear that their children might get infected with COVID-19 if they are sent to schools without being vaccinated.
'We will not send our children to schools till they are vaccinated for COVID-19. We cannot take risks despite the precautionary measures being taken by the state government,' Rajiv Singh, a resident of Jethiyan village in Gaya district said.
Dharmendra Kumar, a resident of Khijarsarai village in the same district, echoed the demand.
The decision to reopen the educational institutions was taken during a Crisis Management Group meeting on December 18 last year.
Education Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar had said that students will be permitted to enter the educational institutions only if they wear masks.
Authorities of the educational institutions will keep a tab on students to check whether they have any COVID symptoms and medical examination of pupils will be conducted in government schools on a random basis, he said.
Two masks each will be distributed among school children and physical classes for students of standards 9-12 will be held at half the strength to ensure social distancing, the official said. PTI AR ACD ACD