Students in several Indian states return to schools for the first time since March
As per the guidelines of Unlock 4, several north-eastern states opened their schools for students who came for academic guidance for the first time since they were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Students have returned to their schools on a voluntary basis in several states across India to seek academic guidance from their teachers in accordance with Unlock 4 guidelines. All educational institutes in India have been shut since March following the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, with the step of re-opening having been postponed several times.
States where schools re-opened as of 21 September include Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya—and Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the guidelines of Unlock 4, which was implemented last month by the central government to further ease previously imposed restrictions, it was stipulated that students of classes 9 to 12 outside containment zones return to schools on a voluntary basis from 21 September for the purpose of academic guidance.
However, the Union Health Ministry later issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be abided by implying that only 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff will be allowed to return to campuses as of 8 September in order to facilitate the conduct of the online teaching process.
In view of students' return to schools, Assam’s secondary education director, Phanindra Jidung, pointed out the situation will be assessed after 15 days of re-opening and that the SOPs are meant for all categories of schools, adding that private schools have to decide when they want to resume their classes.
In the meantime, the Meghalaya government underlined that students are only allowed to return to schools currently to “clear their doubts” over academic issues with their teachers, but no regular classes will be held before 30 September.