The Tamil Nadu government has decided to reverse its decision of reopening of schools from November 16 for students of classes 9 and onwards after nearly two weeks of announcing the decision.
The state government has said that decision to postpone the reopening of schools was taken after the government analysed the feedback from parents and teachers. Parents of some schools wanted the educational institutions to reopen, but others were against such a move because of the Covid crisis, the government said. A fresh reopening date would be announced after taking the COVID-19 situation into consideration.
The government said that college and universities will start from December 2, for research scholars and final year postgraduate students of science and technology streams. They too were scheduled to reopen on November 16.
The move of the state government of reopening of schools was criticised by opposition leader, MK Stalin of DMK who said that this decision was ‘hasty.’ He said that decision on reopening schools should be taken only in January 2021 after analysing the situation at that time.
The union government had issued guidelines on October 5 for reopening of schools. The government had permitted the reopening of schools in phases after October 15 but had left the timing and manner of reopening to the states.
The central government in its guidelines have categorically said that students will not be forced to attend classes in school.
The guideline issued by the Education Ministry read, “Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent.Those who choose not to go back to school can attend classes online.”
The other Covid-19 precautions such as when in school, the wearing of masks will be compulsory for students, teachers and staff. All students will have to follow a strict hand hygiene routine, and will sit six feet apart in classrooms amongst others. The guidelines issued also suggested that educational institutions could be rotational on alternate days and staggered entry system.
Tamil Nadu which has 7,50,409 coronavirus cases is the state with the fourth-highest caseload in India. It has reported 2,184 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
Educational institutions across the country had been shut since March when the government imposed a strict nationwide coronavirus lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19. The government has recently allowed the reopening of schools with strict safety protocols under its “Unlock5” guidelines.