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Schools record thin attendance on reopening after 2 years

The government had on Sunday evening abruptly ordered reopening of universities, IITs, polytechnics and senior classes from 9 to 12 in schools in the summer zone of the UT. However, there was poor attendance as the students did not get timely notice and nor were the school managements geared up with the Covid protocols.

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

Schools and higher education institutions in J&K witnessed thin attendance of students on Monday when these reopened about two years after their closure due to Covid-19.

The government had on Sunday evening abruptly ordered reopening of universities, IITs, polytechnics and senior classes from 9 to 12 in schools in the summer zone of the UT. However, there was poor attendance as the students did not get timely notice and nor were the school managements geared up with the Covid protocols.

Chief Secretary, Arun Kumar Mehta held a meeting to take stock of arrangements for reopening of educational institutions and resuming offline teaching.

He emphasised that each head of the Institution shall be personally responsible for covid management and healthy teaching environment. There should be no tolerance for unhealthy activities in places of learning.

The chief secretary asked the vice-chancellors of universities, principals of colleges, and heads of all schools to submit COVID prevention and mitigation plans taking into account capacity of class rooms with 6 feet norm, staggered teaching plan, COVID protocols, vaccination, screening, and emergency SoP; within two days.

Additional chief secretary, Health & Medical Education, Principal Resident Commissioner, New Delhi, administrative secretaries of the departments of Skill Development, Higher Education, School Education, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction, Vice Chancellors of all universities, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Deputy Commissioners, and concerned HoDs participated in the meeting.

It was informed that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has been regularly reviewing the COVID situation in the Union territory and has now decided to resume offline teaching by reopening all educational institutions.

The Chief Secretary stated that the COVID positivity rate in the UT has been contained to 0.7% and impressed upon the heads of all educational institutions to remain vigilant to any signs of infection especially among unvaccinated students below the age of 17 years, besides ensuring adherence to COVID appropriate behavior, SoPs and protocols; proper social distancing; and hand hygiene provisions, and compliance to UGC guidelines in the matter.

The education institutions were further asked to regularly screen their students and ensure that symptomatic students are tested timely and isolated to prevent the spread of infection.

Meanwhile, the Health and Medical Education Department was also asked to address the health-related needs of all schools, colleges, and universities in a time-bound manner, through the concerned divisional and district administrations.

Considering the educational institutions in Jammu & Kashmir are reopening for offline classes after a hiatus of almost two years, Mehta impressed upon the concerned to ensure proper maintenance, upkeep, and cleanliness in the institutions along with functional electricity and water supplies as well as proper sanitation facilities therein.

The Chief Secretary impressed upon the institutions to build on the experience of online classes and adopt an ideal blend of IT-based offline teaching curriculum to boost students’ learning outcomes and successfully train them for national-level examinations.

“The academic year 2022-23 shall be the year of educational transformation for Jammu and Kashmir”, Mehta maintained.

Additionally, the Higher Education Department and School Education Department were asked to fully implement the National Education Policy across Jammu and Kashmir during 2022, thereby making the Union territory, the first among in the country to do so.