After a hole of over nine months, schools and pre-university colleges in Karnataka reopened for students on Friday with strict COVID-19 safety norms.
While steady classes began on Friday for class 10 and second year PUC (class 12) students, who will be facing board exams; students from grades 6-9 came to campuses for the Vidyagama programme, which enables continued schooling.
Wearing masks, students with consent letters from their parents were seen entering the classes after thermal checks and sanitising their hands at schools and PU colleges across the state.
Within the classes too, students were seen seated maintaining social distancing.
According to reports so far, with Friday being the first day, also New Year, not all students attended classes.
While there used to be opposition from sure sections approximately opening schools and PU colleges amidst prevailing pandemic situation, others including Education Minister Suresh Kumar were of the opinion that opening of schools and colleges at the side of preventive measures were essential for students, particularly in rural areas, with online education mostly not to be had and cases of them being forced into labour.
Schools and PU colleges have remained closed in the state since March just ahead of the national lockdown used to be first enforced to combat COVID-19.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the school and colleges are restarting in the interest of educational progress of the students.
“Happy New Year to everyone. In the interest of educational progress of the students, from today class 10 and 12 will start, also Vidyagama will restart for class 6 to 9 students. All of the essential arrangements have been made for the safety of the students. Compulsorily use masks, care for social distancing, cleanliness and cooperate with the government,” he said in a tweet.
Anxious parents were seen accompanying their children to schools, while teachers were seen welcoming students and guiding them regarding safety protocols that wish to be followed.
Classrooms and premises of schools and colleges were sanitised ahead classes resuming Friday.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, who visited schools and PU colleges at more than a few places, also inspected the arrangements and interacted with students said, parents don’t need to worry as all of the essential precautionary measures are being strictly followed.
“There is scene of celebration and delight at school premises…the worry that is there among some parents will not go easily in a day it is going to be there, so I’m saying two things, those who still have worries send your children to schools once it is resolved, as it isn’t obligatory, and those sending to schools don’t worry, precautionary measures are in place,” he said.
“Approximately the worry around the second one wave and UK variant, I have spoken to expert committee members, there is not any need for worry, it isn’t more dangerous than the earlier COVID variant, same precautionary measures will hold good and the vaccines that are getting in a position will have the ability to address it,” he added.
Expecting attendance of 40-50 per cent on Friday, the Minister also said we don’t seem to be expecting good attendance on the first day itself, as attending classes don’t seem to be obligatory, also (Friday) being a New Year many may need to come to classes from Monday.
He also said that the branch used to be mulling over setting up a vigilance team at all districts to visit schools and to check approximately precautionary measures and look into shortcomings whether any.