Schools in Kerala, which have been closed since the imposition of the coronavirus lockdown in March, will partially reopen on January 1, marking a new beginning in the education sector, but strictly in compliance with COVID protocols.
Classes for Standards 10 and 12 would begin with limited hours and a restricted number of students, official sources here said Thursday.
State Health Minister KK Shailaja said here Thursday that the academic year, which comes at a time of the COVID pandemic, must be handled with confidence but caution.
“Students should not be afraid to go to schools. The government has made all the arrangements, ”he said, urging everyone to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the health and education departments.
At a recent high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it was decided to reopen educational institutions, including schools and colleges, in accordance with COVID guidelines.
As of Wednesday, Kerala has over 65,000 active COVID-19 cases, as it has been reporting new infections in large numbers in recent months.
In its guidelines, the Department of General Education has mandated that only 50 percent of students be able to attend schools at a time and that classes be organized as one student per bank for the first week.
Better to allow 25 percent of students at a time in schools, where their strength exceeds 300 in number in classes 10 and 12, according to guidelines issued by the Director of Public Instruction (DPI).
In the detailed instructions given, the authorities have asked the school administrations to ensure masks, disinfectant, digital thermometer and soaps in their institutions.
Students should be asked to keep a distance of two meters from each other and classes can be held in shifts of limited hours if necessary, he said.
Class items must be disinfected every two hours and children must be admitted to classes only with parental consent.
According to the current plan, the High School Certificate of Completion (SSLC) and High School Completion (HSC) second-year board examinations would be conducted March 17-30 in strict adherence to protocols of COVID.
At the university level, graduate and postgraduate classes and classes at the Universities of Agriculture and Fisheries would also begin in early January with a limited number of students.
It was also decided to start classes from the second year in medical schools, official sources added.