After several rounds of discussions over the reopening of the schools in India, the Narendra Modi government has finally made a plan to re-open schools in a phased manner between 1 September and 14 November. But the state governments will take the final call. The Centre will only publish the broader guidelines under the final phase of unlocking the economy and other sections.
States and union territories that have lower caseloads can reopen schools, but they have to abide by the standard operating protocols, which may come out towards the end of this month.
From 1 or 5 September, schools will be allowed to reopen, depending on whether the state government permits or not.
For the first 15 days, only the students of Classes 10, 11 and 12 will be asked to attend their respective schools.
However, the schools will not call all students of these classes. If there are four sections, two sections will come on every alternate day.
All schools will run in shifts — 8 to 11 AM and 12 to 3 PM. The one-hour gap between the shifts will be used for sanitising.
Primary sections will not be allowed to reopen now.
Among the states, Tamil Nadu school education minister KA Sengottaiyyan denied reopening of schools even as late as in November. He said the state government was yet to make a decision.
Talking to reporters at Gobichettipalayam in Erode yesterday, the Tamil Nadu minister said, “No such decision has been taken. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami would take a decision taking into account the views of public and parents when the intensity of Covid spread reduces,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist of the World Health Organisation, has said that states must re-open the schools as soon as possible so that learning and overall health of children are not affected.
“Disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn,” Dr Swaminathan said, adding, “That puts schools as one of the high priorities in the coming days.”