Karnataka

Schools, PU colleges unlikely to reopen soon

Precautions: Students use hand sanitisers and undergo temperature checks before entering a school in Ganganagar in Bengaluru. File photo  

With the spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases in pockets of the State, the government, which was considering reopening schools, is likely to make a U-turn.

Experts who were part of the committee formed by the government to recommend several issues, including reopening of schools, had suggested that all classes - from Class I to II PU - reopen from August 1. The Commissioner for Public Instruction (CPI), heading the committee, tweaked the report to say high school classes should be allowed to start from the second week of August and the lower classes, after a week.

A senior official in the Department of Primary and Secondary Education said: “We were keen on restarting classes but with the increase in cases in some parts and prediction of a third wave, we do not want to take a risk and therefore do not want to reopen schools and PU colleges.” Sources also said the State government had decided not to reopen schools and PU classes as the students were not vaccinated. “While degree colleges are open as those students have got at least one dose, taking the same risk for school and PU students is difficult as they would have not got the vaccine,” a source said. On the other hand, the committee also quoted the Devi Shetty Committee report which recommended that schools and colleges should be opened in a phased manner. Several studies have pointed out that the school closure had led to loss of foundational abilities.

Alternative strategies

Rishikesh B.S., Associate Professor, Azim Premji University, said the pandemic was likely to continue. “In such a scenario, can they afford to close schools for a year?” he questioned. He said there was a need for the government to chalk out different strategies based on how the COVID-19 situation pans out. “Whenever cases rise and schools cannot remain open, there is a need for alternative programmes such as Vidyagama so that children’s learning is not affected,” he said.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said there was a need for schools to reopen at the earliest. “There was a considerable delay in taking a decision on reopening. With the political developments and no Education Minister at the moment, the opening will be delayed further. As there is prediction of a third wave, if schools are not reopened, learning loss will be far worse,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 10:47:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/schools-pu-colleges-unlikely-to-reopen-soon/article35692823.ece

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