Gujarat set to reopen higher secondary schools and colleges from November 23

Gujarat set to reopen higher secondary schools and colleges from November 23
BCCL
The Gujarat government on Wednesday decided to reopen high and higher secondary schools and colleges in the state from November 23 subject to adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

However, there has been no decision on reopening of primary schools. The government said it will analyse the feedback on implementation of Wednesday's decision and then decide.

Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said: "A Cabinet meeting chaired by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Wednesday decided to reopen schools and colleges in the state. Before that, I held discussions with my department officials, education experts, academics and other stakeholders on continuation of studies.

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"The Cabinet decided that after Diwali, from November 23, all high and higher secondary schools, colleges and universities will hold teaching in their respective premises. For this, they shall strictly follow the Standard Operating Protocol of the central government."

"In the first stage, in colleges and universities, classes for postgraduate, medical and paramedical students will be resumed. Moreover, classes of only final-year students of undergraduate courses will be resumed. In engineering streams also, classes of final-year students will resume. Similarly, ITIs and polytechnics will be reopened. The present system of providing online education will also have to be continued by various institutes in the state," added Chudasama.

The Minister said that the decision was applicable to all schools and colleges in the state -- government, grant in aid, self-financed, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya and all schools under Social Justice and Empowerment Department. For the remaining schools, the government will decide later.

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The Minister said that though attendance by students will not be mandatory, schools and colleges will have to obtain written consents from parents on a form provided by the government.

Principals of all educational institutions will ensure that all SOP are in place and followed in letter and spirit. The teaching staff and all students coming to the institutions will be checked for body temperatures through thermal guns.

"For physical distancing, we are giving the educational institutions the option of odd-even formula and alternate-day teaching so that students keep safe distance. It will also be ensured that students, even during recess or other times, don't crowd and maintain physical distance," added Chudasama.

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"The Education Department officials and District Education Officers will monitor schools and colleges in their respective areas and submit daily reports to us," the Education Minister added.

For the continuation of education in primary schools, Chudasama said: "After we get a feedback on this decision and how it works out, the government will decide on resuming studies in primary schools."

Wednesday's decision to reopen educational institutions in Gujarat is significant, especially when many other states have had to revoke such decisions and again order shutdown due to rising coronavirus infections in school children.

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