assam school reopening date: Assam to reopen schools for students of classes 6-8 after reviewing infection rate

GUWAHATI: The Assam government is mulling reopening of primary schools for students of classes 6 to 8 from November 1 after reviewing the Covid infection rate in schools and colleges where offline classes for students of standard 9 to 12 are on since September 21.

However, classroom teaching for students below Class 6 is unlikely to resume anytime soon, sources in the state education department told TOI on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Union ministry of education had issued detailed guidelines for the reopening of schools after October 15 in a graded manner.

The state education department has written to the district education authorities to urgently furnish the number of Covid-infected students of classes 9 to 12 who are voluntarily attending classes for the last 15 days. The state government has constituted a six-member committee, headed by deputy commissioners of all districts in the state, to monitor the ground situation in the schools every 15 days. The panel has been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the re-opened schools function safely and effectively during the current pandemic situation.

“Today (Tuesday), we have received the standard operating procedure (SOP) from the department of school education under the Union education ministry. Based on this SOP and considering the local conditions in Assam, another SOP will be formulated for the state as the state education department is pondering upon reopening classes for students of standard 6 to 8. But two aspects — turnout and Covid infection among students, teachers, and non-teaching staff — are going to be crucial in making this decision. The education minister’s go-ahead is being awaited in this regard,” said a senior official of the state education department.

While reports of Covid infection among students and teachers are coming from several districts of Assam, the education department is yet to reveal the total tally of infections detected on campus.

On the other hand, the response from students of classes 9 to 12 has been lukewarm, with an estimated 10-15% of the students joining offline classes for secondary level students.

“We are not much bothered about the low turnout as the schools and colleges have to remain open to give guidance to those students who can join online education. But the rate of infection has to be within the limit before a decision is taken on reopening schools for other classes,” the official added.

The state secondary education department has notified that the previous SOP relating to partial resumption of activities in secondary schools for students of classes 9 to 12 on a voluntary basis and the purpose of counselling from the teachers has been extended for a period of 10 days with effect from Tuesday.

In the meanwhile, the education department has asked the district education authorities to send details about the schools closed after September 21 due to the detection of Covid infection among students and teachers.

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said,”We are especially planning how to bring the final year students to the classes. Between October 15 and 20 the new protocol will be published by the state government, which will come into effect from November 1.”

Though he said classes from standard 6 onwards may open along with colleges and universities, hostels won’t be allowed to open.

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