Coronavirus | States, Union Territories differ on date for reopening schools

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu among 21 States and UTs yet to take a call; Delhi, Bihar look at August.

July 20, 2020 12:10 am | Updated 08:20 am IST - NEW DELHI

Children attend a tele-learning class at their home in Chennai.

Children attend a tele-learning class at their home in Chennai.

More than half the States and Union Territories, including COVID-19 hotspots Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, have not yet decided on a date for reopening schools, the Centre was told at a meeting this week.

The remaining States are split between those willing to reopen in August, which includes Delhi and Bihar, and others who will not open until September, such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

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The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has also asked the States to gauge parents’ opinions on the issue and submit it by Monday, offering options of reopening in August, September or October.

All educational institutions have been shut since mid-March due to the pandemic, leaving 25 crore children across the country out of school. In many States, some form of distance education has restarted, using online resources as well as television and radio programmes.

The HRD Ministry held a videoconference with State representatives on July 15 to discuss the School Safety Plan.

The responses were compiled by the Ministry into a document, which The Hindu has reviewed.

Assam was the only State willing to open at the end of July.

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Of the 36 States and UTs, at least 21 said they had not taken a decision yet, with five of those adding that they were awaiting guidance from the Centre. With the spread of the pandemic still uncertain, most States were not willing to commit to any reopening date, including the two States with the highest number of cases, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

On the other hand, Delhi, which has the third highest number of cases, said it would like to open schools “preferably in August”, according to the Ministry document. The capital has dropped to sixth place in active cases.

image/svg+xmlMulling it overAt least 21 States and Union Territories have not taken a decision regarding re-opening of schools, while five have planned to open sometime in the month of August or earlierJuly 31AssamAugustDelhi, Haryana, Bihar, ChandigarhSeptemberA.P., Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Manipur, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh*, Odisha*No decision taken yetA&N Islands, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, H.P., J&K U.T., Jharkhand, Lakshadweep, M.P., Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Punjab, Sikkim, T.N., Telangana, Tripura, U.P., Uttarakhand, W.B.