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Schools, colleges & universities reopen in Odisha as COVID infections dip

The attendance is likely to go up in the coming days, said school and mass education department officials.

Statesman News Service | BHUBANESWAR |

Schools and higher educational institutions including universities in Odisha reopened for physical classes from Monday after a surge in Covid cases had led to their closure in January.

While the educational institutions in the state for students from Class 8 reopened today, the physical or offline classes for students of KG to Class 7 will re-open from 14 February, said officials.

Meanwhile, the daily COVID1-19 infections on Monday dipped below 2,000 for the first time since January with the positivity plummeting to 3.17%.

Students have academically suffered a lot due to the prevailing health crisis since the past two years. Though physical classes were held from time to time, there were periodic interruptions due to a surge in the disease. The online classes are no match to offline classes as physical mode of teaching inculcates classroom bonding and affinity among students and teachers, said an official of school and mass education department.

With students deprived of physical classes due to school closure, the government had launched YouTube live streaming of classes for students in standard 1-8 in 8 districts and standard 9-10 in all the 30 districts. However the initiative had failed to pay dividends as only 40% of students could reap the benefits of online mode of classes. As many as 60% students were left in the lurch as they either could afford the luxury of smart phones or poor connectivity-linked hindrances. To reduce the study load in view of the pandemic-induced practical difficulties, the Board of Secondary Education and Council of Higher Secondary Education have also reduced the academic syllabus.

“There was an impressive turnout of students on the first day of physical classes. In strict conformity with SOP, special seating arrangements were made to ensure social distancing in the classes. A separate isolation room was kept ready in every school for use in the event students or staff developed Covid symptoms. Several surveillance teams have been constituted to ensure the functioning of the schools in accordance with Covid SOP”, said Biswanath Tarai, the District Education Officer, Khordha.

As reports trickle in from various parts of the State, there was an impressive turnout of students for classroom teaching that recommenced today. The attendance varied from 60 to 80 percent from one institution to the other. The attendance is likely to go up in the coming days, said school and mass education department officials.

“I had to skip the online classes due to poor internet connectivity. My studies were affected due to an erratic mobile network. The physical classroom teaching has come in as a boon for me. I managed to clear my doubts in the study. My teachers put extra effort to clear the doubts”, said Rojalin Sahoo, a 10th class student of a government-run school in Bhubaneswar.