Of the total 250 government schools in the district 190 have been affected by cyclone ‘Thane' with trees on the campuses uprooted and plastic water tanks blown off. There is no power supply yet but the Education Department has directed all schools to reopen on January 9.

After holidays, the schools were to reopen on January 1, But, in the wake of the cyclone, the holidays were extended up to January 8.

Though parents, teachers and consumer forums have expressed apprehension over reopening the schools before the debris is cleared from their premises, the department is keen on reopening them on January 9.

Chief Educational Officer Joseph Antony Raj told The Hindu that none of the school structures had been affected. The fallen trees had been pushed aside and would not cause any hindrance to the movement of students. Arrangements would be made for providing drinking water and maintenance of toilets.

Mr Raj put the preliminary estimate of losses suffered by the schools at Rs.2.5 crore. Soon after allocation of funds the repair works would be undertaken. He said that the Vadalur government girls higher secondary school had suffered the maximum damage with 60 of the 124 trees on its campus felled. down.

It had come to the notice of the department that because of the damage caused to the houses, textbooks and notebooks might have got wet.

In such cases new books would be given to such students.

Sources in the department said that headmasters had been given discretionary power to conduct classes depending on the ground situation. But it was mandatory to conduct Class X and Plus Two classes from January 9.

The sources admitted that the compound walls and asbestos roofs of public utilities in schools too had been damaged. At least 60 aided schools too had been affected. Many private school had suffered extensive damages.

Keywords: Cyclone Thane

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