The Department of Public Instruction has made all necessary arrangements to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of children attending schools, with physical classes for Ninth and Tenth standards set to begin tomorrow (Aug. 23) after a nearly one-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DDPI Ramachandraraje Urs told a press conference at Ideal Jawa Rotary School on JLB Road yesterday that the schools will reopen tomorrow (Aug. 23) following all COVID requirements.
He noted that all schools had been instructed to clean the whole facilities and take all required precautions to ensure the safety of pupils.
Only half-day classes are available
Ramachandraraje Urs pointed out that classes will only be held for half a day (10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.) three days a week, but attendance is not required. He said that the district has 766 high schools, including 232 government schools, 45 managed by the Social Welfare Department, 134 aided, 349 unaided Private Schools, and 6 Kendriya Vidyalayas 85,125 students from both standards (9th and 10th).
He claimed that practically all students and their parents favour the reopening of schools and that pupils should not be apprehensive about attending because all precautionary measures have been implemented.
He said that just 15 to 20 kids would be allowed in a classroom and that there would be eight 40-minute periods per week. He stated that wearing a face mask has been made mandatory for pupils, instructors, and all other staff members and that schools have been required to equip students with hand sanitisers.
There will be no mid-day lunches
Urs clarified that there would be no mid-day lunches but that all kids would be given hot water to drink. The DDPI stated that children must carry food and water from home. Nodal Officers have been assigned in each taluk to ensure that COVID acceptable behaviour and other COVID criteria are followed.
He said that all teaching and non-teaching staff in the district had been vaccinated ahead of the reopening of schools and that 4,365 teachers of Government High Schools, 1,019 teachers of Aided Schools, 3,704 teachers of Unaided Schools had received their first dose of jab. In comparison, 2,417 teachers had yet to receive their second dose.
Distribution of textbooks
According to Ramachandraraje Urs, the district has only received 30 per cent of the required textbooks. He claimed that school book distribution will begin once the Department receives 50% of the demand, but that an alternative arrangement has been made to ensure that there is no shortage of textbooks, according to which 1.25 lakh books have been procured by borrowing from students who graduated last year.
Urs stated that the Department is discussing the subject of school fee payment and that a notice to parents regarding fee payment will be sent out soon. Asserting that the fees will not be a financial burden on parents, he stated that if schools require students to pay a charge for the issue of a transfer certificate, a decision will be made soon.
Continuing, the DDPI stated that the first two weeks of lessons would be devoted to a ‘Bridge Course,’ which will allow pupils to re-acclimate to physical classes after being out of school for nearly 18 months.
Urs explained that the last bus pass was not fully utilised by pupils because schools were closed in March of last year following the emergence of the devastating epidemic.
He added the bus pass problem had been reviewed with the District Minister in Charge of COVID and Flood Relief Management and that the KSRTC officials had been asked to consider students’ prior-year bus passes for travel, at least for the time being.
He stated that the Department would keep in close contact with KSRTC officials in the event that students have difficulty travelling by bus and that he hoped that students would not have any travel obstacles.
The state is ready to reopen schools as early as tomorrow
From tomorrow, the state plans to reopen schools and PU colleges for students in grades 9 to 12. (Aug.23).
The sessions will be held just three days a week (on alternate days of the week), with only 15 to 20 pupils in each classroom, as recommended by the Expert Committee.
Schools are only allowed to reopen for 9th to 12th grades (9th, 10th, First PU, and Second PU), with all Government SOPs in place. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has convened a conference of specialists, officials, and all other stakeholders on Aug. 31 in Bengaluru, when a decision on the date of re-opening of schools for Standards First to Eighth will be made.
In three areas, including Kodagu, schools will not reopen tomorrow
Despite the fact that schools are set to reopen in the state on Monday, August 23, the State Government has issued instructions that schools in the three southern districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kodagu will remain closed until further notice due to a higher COVID-19 Positivity rate in these districts.
Due to a high Corona Positivity rate, the Education Department had previously stated that schools in five districts would not be allowed to reopen on Monday. However, because the districts of Hassan and Chikkamagalur have just reported a positivity rate of less than 2%, it is understood that schools in these two districts will start tomorrow.