The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an order on September 30 directing all the state and UT Governments to decide on reopening schools, colleges, and coaching institutes gradually outside the containment zones after 15th October. Following the order of MHA, the Punjab Secretary wrote a letter to the additional chief secretary of the state [Home Affairs and Justice]. The written statement recommends the schools in Punjab to be permitted to reopen for the classes from IX to XII for 3 hours a day.
As per the latest reports from the sources in the education department, the final decision is expected to disclose on Thursday at a COVID review meeting. Capt Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister of the state will be chairing the review meeting. The letter reads, ‘Where the number of students is more, teachers may be called in two shifts of three hours. All safety measures/sanitization will be adhered to. The minimum distance between one student and another shall be as per the SOP issued by the health department.’
The letter further reads, ‘On average, there will not be more than 20 students in a section to attend classes. No two students should be allowed to sit on the same bench and the minimum distance between two benches shall be adhered to. The other protocols like using sanitizers, wearing masks, etc shall be adhered to…’ On Wednesday, Vijay Inder Singla, the Education Minister of Punjab said that the education department has provided its suggestions to the home department.
Further, the state CM has the complete right to disclose his final decision on the reopening of schools post considering all the precautionary measures and safety of students during the review meeting. In a press report, Singla said that reacting to the comments on reopening of specific activities in school from 15th October, asked by the Department of Home Affairs & Justice Punjab, the Secretary of School Education has notified regarding the precautionary measures to be provided in schools considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the Government has released Unlock 4.0 guidelines. On 20th September, partial modification of the guidelines in compliance with the MHA directives has been released. Following the same, the Punjab Government has permitted students of class IX to XII to attend their schools in regions outside containment zones voluntarily to acquire guidance from their teachers. However, the students must attend the schools upon taking written consent from their parents.
In the next order, MHA stated that online or distance education shall endure being the preferred mode of teaching. The students can also prefer attending online classes instead of attending schools in physical mode. There is no forcible attendance given to the students even if they don’t attend the school in person. However, it completely depends on the parents’ consent. For the latest educational updates such as the exams, results, and more, stay tuned to this website.