The Gujarat government has
decided to reopen secondary schools and colleges after Diwali vacations from November 23, state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said on Wednesday.
Schools, which have been shut since March in view of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, will reopen only for students of classes 9 to 12 and the attendance is not mandatory, the minister told reporters after attending a cabinet meeting in Gandhinagar.
A decision on reopening of primary schools for classes 1 to 8 will be taken at an appropriate time, he said.
"After holding discussions with stake-holders in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has decided to reopen secondary schools and colleges. Their campuses will function as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines issued by the Centre. A decision to open primary schools for students of classes 1 to 8 will be taken later," Chudasama said.
The minister said it was not compulsory for students to attend schools physically now and the online mode of education will continue as per the 's guidelines issued by the Union government.
"Managements of schools will be required to take a written consent from parents before calling students to schools. They will also have to ensure that students wear mask, don't share food, and maintain social distancing," he said.
A distance of six feet needs to be maintained in classrooms in schools and colleges, the minister said.
"To prevent crowding, schools and colleges are advised to implement the odd-even formula, wherein half of the students come to school on odd dates and the remaining lot attend school on even dates," Chudasama said.
Students can be given home assignments for the days when they are not attending schools or colleges, he added.
As a precautionary measure, schools and colleges are required to sanitise their premises, keep hand sanitisers and soaps for students and staff and procure thermal temperature guns to detect any suspected COVID-19 cases, the minister said.
Gujarat's COVID-19 caseload stood at 1,82,719 on November 10, as per the state health department.
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