Schools and Colleges Start Reopening From February 1st

Following a long pause due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, schools and colleges are starting to reopen throughout India. Students in Classes X and XI get back first due to exams in most jurisdictions, followed steadily by others. Depending on the local situation, the Union government approved the reopening of schools and higher education institutions in stages after 15 October. Each state separately had to determine the exact timing and manner of reopening. The staggered reopening began for schools in most states. Over the past few days, though, updates about having university and college students back have been trickling in.

The governments of Punjab and Haryana, for example, since November 16, have allowed universities, schools and colleges to hold in-person classes after Diwali. Education Minister Partha Chatterjee of West Bengal has directed the state’s higher education institutions to plan for classes in December. In the case of universities run by the government of the Union, it is for the head of each university to take a reopening decision on the grounds of the viability of opening physical classes.

Statewise Decisions Over Reopening Of  Schools and Colleges

Maharashtra:

From January 27 and February 1, respectively, the Thane and Pune districts in Maharashtra agreed to reopen campuses, with stringent coronavirus guidelines provided by municipal corporations in both districts. From February 1, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) authorized the reopening of schools for classes 5 to 8, while in Thane, from January 27, students from classes 5 to 8 have to attend school.

Punjab:

Following the state government’s conditional approval, all government, aided and private schools are scheduled to reopen from February 1 for classes 1 and 2 and pre-primary classes, a statement by the state government citing Punjab School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said. On January 7, students from classes 5 to 12 began going to school.

Andhra Pradesh:

From February 1, the Andhra Pradesh government granted approval for the reopening of classes 1 to 5. For elementary classes, the schools would run a full day. Guidelines in this respect have been provided by the state education department. However, it should be remembered that only with the informed permission of the parent or guardian can students attend the courses. Each section can only have 20 students, according to the guidelines. In November of last year, schools for classes 6 to 12 and universities in the state reopened.

Haryana:

According to an order released by the Department of School Education, schools in Haryana will reopen from February 1 for classes 6 to 8. For Grades 6 and 8, the timetable for schooling will be between 10 am and 1.30 pm. To certify if they do not have any COVID-like signs, students would have to bring a certificate from any health centre or a specialist. Before coming to kindergarten, they would still have to seek informed permission from their guardians. This facility can be used as before by students who want to resume their studies in the online mode, as has been taught to them over the past 10 months.

Gujarat:

From February 1, the offline classes for grades 9 and 11 will resume. Earlier, on January 11th, the state closed the school for classes 10 and 12.

Telangana:

In February, Telangana will reopen its schools for classes 9 to 12. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had previously announced the February 1 reopening of college classes.

Meghalaya:

From February 1, the northeast state is all ready to start classes for higher education institutions. To be recalled, earlier this year, most of the Meghalaya schools had already started offline classes.

Jammu and Kashmir:

The SOP to resume classes from February has been declared and higher education institutions will resume offline classes for grades 10 to 12 in the summer zone of the Jammu area from February 1. Whereas in the Kashmir Division and the Jammu Division winter district, higher education institutions will start off-line classes on 15 February.

Karnataka:

Schools in Karnataka are all set to reopen for Classes 9, 10, and Pre-University classes from February 1.

Himachal Pradesh:

From February 1, the 8-12 classes in schools are now expected to reopen. From February 15, schools that lie in the hilly part of the state and have longer winter holidays can start classes.

Rajasthan:

On Monday, the Rajasthan High Court allowed private schools to raise 70 per cent of students’ tuition fees. The order came when it heard petitions against a state government order prohibiting schools from charging fees for Covid-19 for three months. The court ruled that students should be barred from joining online courses for non-payment of tuition, but must not be expelled. During a hearing on petitions by the Society of Catholic Education Institutions in Rajasthan and other outfits, Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma’s order arrived. The Democratic School Group, one of the petitioners, said that the state government had ordered schools to delay the payment of all unpaid dues, new fees and advance fees for three months after March 15, 2020.

Mumbai: Parents Meet The Education Minister

After many of their grievances stood unattended, parents’ associations from numerous districts of the state gathered together. They have been moaning about school fee concerns. They said that children are being harassed and facing academic setbacks, as schools take action against those unable to pay tuition, but even after many protests, the state government has preferred to stay quiet. “This is the state government’s apathy. Governments have developed policies or have taken decisions in other nations to consider problems raised by parents after the pandemic. But no such measure has been taken in Maharashtra. In addition, such questions are never addressed whenever parents have tried to address the administration with their complaints,’ said Anubha Shrivastava, who was part of the collective from the India Wide Parents Association.

Parents have also urged the government to encourage parents of private schools who are facing a financial crisis to have a fee waiver. They have protested outside Sena Bhavan, Shiv Sena’s headquarters. After that, the delegation met with JM Abhyankar, the chairman of the state minority committee, and was told of a conference. “We will demand the resignation of the school education minister if we do not get a meeting in three days,” said Shrivastava.

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