States follow Unlock 4 Guidelines to Reopen Schools from September 21
The Central government has provided in-principal approval for the reopening schools for students of higher classes from September 21, 2020, on a voluntary basis under Unlock 4.0 guidelines.
Following this, each state government is planning to make the required preparations for reopening of school from 21 September 2020 by keeping the safety of students as a priority.
However, different parts and states of the country are struggling in a varied manner, many state governments are against the decision to reopen schools as the number of COVID cases are still on the peak in those states.
Several states, including Haryana, Jharkhand, and others are in favour of reopening schools in line with the directive given by the MHA.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat Government has decided not to open schools from September 21 due to the increasing case of Covid-19 in the states.
The education minister of Gujarat, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said "The state government took the decision "in the interest of students" in a cabinet meeting directed by the Chief Minister in Gandhinagar".
Earlier, the Union Ministry of Health and family welfare has recently issued detailed SOPs for a partial reopening of schools. Students of classes 9-12 after receiving voluntary guidance from teachers can attend classes.
State-wise Status of School Reopening post Lockdown
Assam was one of the initial states planning to reopen schools in the state and decided to hold a testing drive for teachers by calling in for duty from 1 September 2020 onwards. However, following the recent increase in the number of COVID cases and the lack of high testing facilities, the plan is put on hold.
Earlier, in the month, the Chief Secretary of Assam published a notification regarding Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutes to remain closed until 30 September for regular class activities. Online and distance learning activities will continue until that period.
YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy led AP Govt has also given a positive response for the reopening of schools in the state. As per the recent directive of the state government, 50 per cent teaching, and 50 per cent, non-teaching staff would attend school.
In line with Unlock 4.0 Guidelines, with written consent from their parent’s students can also visit schools for doubt solving sessions.
Delhi is considered among the worst-hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic; due to the sudden increase in cases Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has decided that all educational institutions will remain closed in the state until 30th Sept 2020.
However, special permission is provided for students of Class 9 to 12 to go to school on a voluntary basis, but only those who stay outside the containment zones. Meanwhile, the state government would continue online education for students.
Maharashtra was the worst affected state with its commercial capital Mumbai now trying to take over the mantle of being India’s COVID-19 capital as well.
The state government has decided to keep schools in the state closed until 30th Sept 2020. However, in line with Unlock 4.0 guidelines, it may allow students from class 9-12 to visit the schools for guidance completely on a voluntary basis.
Haryana Govt is also planning to start in-person voluntary classes for school students from 21 September onwards. Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal Singh Gujjar had issued a statement saying earlier last week stating that ‘the state is ready to open schools once again.’
By looking after the complete safety as well as the health of the students, the state government has made a plan of action with a long process and protocols to be followed as well as sanctioned additional budget for the sanitization of every school. Initially, for a trial basis, the state government plans to reopen two schools in Karnal and Sonepat districts for Class 10 and Class 12 students respectively only after receiving approval from the majority of parents.
Jharkhand State Government has also arrived at the conclusion to reopen schools for Class 9 and above. Jharkhand State Education Minister Vaidyanath Mahato had earlier shared his concerns regarding the digital divide affecting the education of students in the state.
He said that according to a survey; only 27% of students in urban areas of the state have access to online classes and it is even lower in rural areas. In line with these concerns, the state government plans to reopen schools from 21 September onwards for classes 10 and 12 students for equal education.
UP Government is likely to follow the guidelines to reopen schools for 9th to 12th Class students for voluntary doubt-solving session. On similar lines, the state government is also planning graded reopening of colleges, universities for similar sessions starting from 21 September 2020.
However, all details regarding the final decision about UP Schools will soon be conveyed by UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma soon. A review meeting will be held to see the COVID-19 situation in the state by the educational department and in accordance with that, the final decision regarding the reopening of schools will be declared.
Irrespective of that decision, the state government has started the new academic session and is regularly holding online classes for students through Doordarshan UP for Class 10 and 12, and Swayambha channel for Class 9 and 11.