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Primary students will return to school from 16 February

In view of the current pandemic situation, the government has issued a fresh set of relaxations this evening. From Wednesday onwards, night restriction has been relaxed by an hour and movement of people and vehicles has been prohibited from 12 to 5 am instead of 11 pm to 5 am.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

West Bengal government today allowed reopening schools from primary level onwards across the state from 16 February. The state school education department will issue a separate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for conducting primary and upper primary classes in schools.

In view of the current pandemic situation, the government has issued a fresh set of relaxations this evening. From Wednesday onwards, night restriction has been relaxed by an hour and movement of people and vehicles has been prohibited from 12 to 5 am instead of 11 pm to 5 am.

Permission has been given to reopen all ICDS centres and an SOP would be issued by the state women and child development and social welfare department in this connection. Schools from class VIII to XII are functioning since 3 February while students studying in class V to VII are attending classes under ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ learning centres in the locality programme. Schools will now be reopened for class I to VII. Schools for students studying in these classes have been closed since March 2020.

On 10 February, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said that primary schools in the state could be reopened following proper evaluation of the Covid situation and discussions with school authorities. She had suggested conducting classes with 50 per cent students on a rotational basis. Earlier, Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee had said that the lockdown has impeded the basic learning of students and schools in West Bengal should reopen as soon as possible in view of the present Covid situation.

According to a notification issued by the state chief secretary HK Dwivedi the restrictions that were in place till 15 February were extended till 28 February. “Wearing of masks, maintenance of physical distancing and health and hygiene protocol must be followed at all times. Employers/ management bodies/ owners/ supervisors of all offices, establishments and work places shall be responsible for provisioning of all Covid safety measures including regular sanitisation of work places and Covid appropriate norms,” read the notification.

Meanwhile, the state government’s flagship outreach programmes ~ Duare Sarkar ~ commencing from Tuesday will have disability camps for catering to the requirements of the disabled persons. The month-long programme that will be held till 15 March will have six new facilities for the beneficiaries. Mr Dwivedi held a video conference with senior officials and district magistrates to take stock of the preparations of Duare Sarkar camps. Under the Duare Sarkar programme, camps would be held for receiving applications in two rounds from 15 to 21 February and 1 to 7 March. Following which, applications would be enquired and subsequently services would be delivered from 8 to 15 March.