Schools in State to be shut for Classes 9 to 11

Govt. cites clusters at a few schools

Published - March 21, 2021 01:11 am IST - CHENNAI

The Tamil Nadu government has announced that schools will be closed for Classes 9, 10 and 11 from March 22 until further orders. Hostels will also be shut, according to an order issued by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department.

The order also said the conduct of the examinations for Class 10 students of boards other than the State Board and special classes and hostels for them will be permitted.

With COVID-19 case clusters increasing in the State, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has said it is not advisable to continue in-person learning for students of Classes 9 to 11.

However, Class 12 students who have to sit for the board examination can be permitted to have in-person learning since the number will be fewer. But they will have to comply with all the standard operating procedures, the Directorate has said. Intense testing and contact-tracing are under way, besides micro-containment in zones where clusters have sprung up.

The emergence of clusters at a few schools has prompted the decision.

Digital learning can continue for Classes 9 to 11.

In a statement, Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan said the Director of the Directorate of Public Health had pointed to the emergence of clusters at schools in Thanjavur and a few other districts. Though their number was small, public health experts opined that the clusters could spread to localities where the students resided and contribute to an increase in the cases not only in these areas but also in the districts.

To prevent the spread of the contagion, permission for in-person learning for Classes 9 to 11 had been revoked. The recommendations of the Directorate of Public Health have been taken into consideration, he said.

Mr. Ranjan said that in some districts, the increase in the cases could be due to a mix of programmes, meetings, festivals as well as non-compliance with mask-wearing in public places and non-adherence to guidelines. A meeting was held on March 16 and 17, wherein it was decided to step up preventive measures and vaccination.

Micro-containment zones

“Due to increased and aggressive testing, the RT-PCR tests administered went up from 50,000 to 75,000 per day. ...even if the number of those testing positive is high, all efforts are being made to isolate and treat them immediately to control further spread,” Mr. Ranjan said.

Streets and residential complexes that had more than 3 cases would be declared a micro-containment zone, he said. “...mask-wearing in public, hand-washing and physical distancing should be followed by all. In the last three days, 24,700 persons/institutions have been fined ₹52.64 lakh for flouting these norms,” he said.

Schools were reopened for Classes 10 and 12 on January 19. In February, schools were permitted to function for Classes 9 and 11. Later that month however, the government declared all students of Classes 9 to 11 promoted.

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