Educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities and training institutes, will reopen in Bihar starting Monday after a gap of more than nine months since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.
The decline in the number of coronavirus cases and the state’s high recovery rate of 97.61 percent appear to have boosted confidence to physically resume studies in educational institutions.
However, the classes will operate only at half the strength of the total students and other coronavirus protocols must be strictly followed, Department of Education Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar told PTI on Sunday.
According to the bulletin of the health departments, the state registered 2,53,651 cases of COVID-19 until Saturday, of which 2,47,579 people have recovered from the contagion, raising its recovery rate to 97.61 percent. .
The state has 4,669 active cases with the death toll from COVID-19 rising to 1,403, according to the bulletin.
The state government issued a list of COVID-19 safety guidelines for students and staff to follow in schools, universities and other educational institutions that resume operations starting Monday.
In particular, the decision to reopen educational institutions, including schools, both government and private, for classes IX to XII as of January 4, 2021, was made at a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG) on December 18, 2020 .
The schools, which will open for courses IX through XII, will be run with just 50 percent force to maintain social distancing in classrooms in addition to wearing masks on campus.
“The use of a mask has been made mandatory for all students of the school on campus, without which they will not be allowed to enter the premises. In addition, classes IX through XII will be taught with a 50 percent endowment to ensure that social distancing is maintained within the classrooms.
“This means that only half a class force will join the physical session at a time,” said Kumar.
Two masks each will be distributed among schoolchildren, he said, adding that the teaching staff will be made aware of the COVID-19 guidelines to follow in the classroom.
The administration of the institutes will guarantee and maintain cleanliness and sanitation on their campuses, Kumar said, adding that “school authorities will monitor whether any student suffers from fever or has any symptoms of the virus.” The medical examination of students will be carried out “at random” in public schools, said the Chief Secretary.
The training centers will have to present a plan to start physical classes maintaining social distancing within the classrooms to the regional official and request prior permits, the sources said.
The Bihar government announced on March 13, 2020, the closure of all schools, colleges, training institutes, zoos and public parks until March 31 as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic.
Educational institutions have remained closed since the state government imposed a statewide lockdown on March 22, 2020, followed by the nationwide lockdown of centers announced on March 25, 2020.
Educational centers remained closed due to the increasing number of COVID cases.
Previously, the state government had announced the reopening of schools in classes IX to XII as of September 28, 2020, but due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, the schools remained closed.
After reviewing the situation and getting the proper feedback on how things went over the past 15 days, the government will take a call to resume physical classes for students in class VIII and below on January 18, the Chief Secretary said.