Phased reopening of schools from July 1 proposed

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education has proposed to start schools in a phased manner from July 1. However, a final decision will be taken only after consultations with all stakeholders.

It has proposed that classes four to seven will commence from July 1, while classes one to three and eight to 10 can resume on July 15. Pre-primary classes have been tentatively slated to start on July 20. Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar at a meeting on Tuesday said that the opinion of parents will be collected between June 10 and June 12.

Many parents, however, had recently signed a petition that schools should not be reopened until there are no COVID-19 cases. “If a majority of parents do not agree with the dates proposed, they can suggest reopening dates they are comfortable with,” said K.G. Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Public Instruction.

The decision can be taken at parent-teacher meetings conducted either online or in person.

School managements – both private and government – have been asked to take the opinion of parents on how social distancing measures can be followed. They have put forth three options including whether classes can be conducted with the existing strength as normal or whether schools should function on shift bases (first shift from 8 a.m. to noon, second from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.). The third option looks at conducting classes on alternative days. For instance, classes one to five can be held on one day and six to 10 on the next.

Teachers to report to work on June 5

The department has asked teachers and staff to report to work on June 5 and chalk out a plan. Admissions are scheduled to begin from June 8.

After collating the opinion of the parents, school managements are expected to upload the suggestions made by each parent on the School Assessment Tracking System.

Meanwhile, the department will also issue guidelines to private schools on how online classes should be conducted. Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences had told the DPI that conducting classes for pre-primary section was not advisable.

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