Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh on Monday joined the states where schools have cautiously restarted physical lessons after the ebbing of COVID-19 cases, while in Uttarakhand and Bihar, students of more classes returned to the offline mode. States which had started physical classes in schools after a gap of a year were again forced to order closure due to the second wave of coronavirus in March-April this year.
Schools across Haryana, Gujarat, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, however, began reopening after mid-July in a staggered manner, starting with grades 10 to 12. A 50 per cent cap on attendance and holding of classes in shifts to ensure social distancing, sanitisation and mask-wearing were among the COVID-19 norms being followed by the schools, which largely reported thin attendance.
Similarly, states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had resumed physical classes from August 2, while Karnataka is planning to do so from August 23. Schools for classes 9 to 12, universities, colleges and coaching institutes will be allowed to reopen in Rajasthan from September 1 Earlier this month, the Uttar Pradesh government had announced that schools would reopen for students of classes 9 to 12 from August 16 with 50 percent attendance.
On Monday, some schools started offline classes in shifts while adhering to COVID protocols, but the attendance was thin. The state government said teaching activity may be considered for classes 6 to 8 from August 23 and for classes 1 to 5 from September 1. The Cathedral Senior Secondary School in Lucknow said about 100 students attended classes on Monday. “Offline classes have resumed for students of classes 9 to 12 today (Monday). About 100 students, which is around 20 percent of the total strength, have come to attend classes,” Donald De Souza, chancellor and spokesperson of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, told PTI.
Principal of St Francis’ College, Lucknow, A Moras said, “We are planning to open the school from August 26.” Not all parents were willing to send their children to school. Ashit Neogy, an Allahabad-based businessman, whose son is a Class 10 student, said he was happy with his son attending the online classes. According to the UP government order issued earlier this month, physical classes at higher education institutes will resume from September 1.
Schools in Bihar reopened for Classes 1 to 8, while offline classes for students from classes 9 to 12 had resumed early this month. Andhra Pradesh has allowed resumption of offline classes from August 16.
Most schools across Uttarakhand began physical classes on Monday for students of Classes 6 to 8 after opening earlier this month for the higher classes. However, only 20-25 percent of students attended the classes. Also, some private schools in Dehradun have either decided to reopen later this week or are still in a dilemma.
The mode of online classes is also available to all students. Punjab had allowed the reopening of schools for all classes in one go. However, barely a week later, 26 students tested positive for coronavirus following which the state government ordered that at least 10,000 RT-PCR tests be conducted at state schools daily.
Classes 10 and 12 of government-run and private schools in Chhattisgarh reopened early this month in districts where the COVID-19 positivity rate is one percent for the last seven days. Colleges and schools were shut in the state after the second wave of coronavirus began in March this year.
The state government has also allowed the resumption of schools for Classes 1 to 5 and Class 8 subject to certain conditions. The Karnataka government has decided to reopen schools for students from class 9 to 12 from August 23, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said.
The Delhi government has allowed students of classes 10 to 12 to visit schools for work related to admission and practical activities for the board exams, and also said that health checkup camps situated on school campuses can resume. Schools for classes 9 to 12, universities, colleges and coaching institutes will reopen in Rajasthan from September 1, according to a state government notification. However, only 50 percent of students will be allowed to attend classes in each session to maintain the COVID-19 protocol.
Classes will be conducted in online mode only for students of classes 1 to 8. The educational institutes were closed due to lockdown in view of the second wave of the coronavirus in April this year.
Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has said that local officials will decide whether physical classes should resume at schools after taking into consideration the COVID-19 situation in their area. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said her government is weighing options for reopening schools and colleges on alternate days after the Durga Puja vacation in November.
Educational institutions in the state have been closed in the state since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year. The Odisha government had announced the reopening of universities and colleges in the state, from August 16.