High schools and junior colleges in Karnataka reopen today after almost 18 months

High schools and junior colleges in Karnataka are preparing to welcome students back to campuses from Monday after a nearly 18-month hiatus. While Classes IX and X will open in schools, junior colleges are holding classes equivalent to Classes XI and XII. All institutes are required to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the government had taken “extreme care” to ensure classroom learning was safe and preparations had been made accordingly to inspire confidence in pupils and parents.

“The government has issued special instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been issued for government, aided and private institutions allowing them to physically resume classes. As previously decided, classes will only resume in districts where the test positivity rate is below 2%,” he said.

Senior sources in the office of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, BC Nagesh, have confirmed to The Indian Express that classes will resume in all districts except Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan.

“As the government has decided to resume classes offline based on the recommendations of the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee, teachers and non-teaching staff at all institutions have been tasked with ensuring that all related SOPs, issued separately for PU schools and colleges, are tracked,” Nagesh said.

Meanwhile, ministers and heads of education and health departments have urged parents who have not yet been vaccinated to register. District administrations have ensured that all teaching and non-teaching staff have received at least their first Covid vaccine before classes reopen.

In some districts like Mandya, teachers were instructed to provide a negative RT-PCR report on Monday even if they took both vaccine injections. “Negative Covid test reports are mandatory for teachers reporting for work on Monday,” said Minister KC Narayana Gowda, who has overseen pandemic-related activities in the district.

Gowda, who is also Minister for Sports and Youth Empowerment, advised schools to set aside an hour a day for sport, urging teachers to record the health status of each student.

Meanwhile, some private schools in Bengaluru have conducted surveys to determine how academic sessions can be continued. “In a survey, we asked parents if they would like to send their children to in-person lessons, and around 60% said they would opt for physical lessons. There are still 40% of parents who would like the online classes continue,” said Sridhar G, founder of Deeksha Private schools in urban areas must stick to the blended learning format for at least another term.

Ekya schools have decided to limit physical classes to two days a week initially. Classes will be held online on other days, school officials said. “Our campuses have enough space to accommodate a large number of students. Depending on the number of students, classes will take place in the auditorium or in open spaces with social distancing in mind. Campuses are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. We have also set up isolation units in case a student starts to feel unwell or shows symptoms,” said Ayesha Sirajuddin, Ekya Schools South Campus Manager.

While Chief Minister Bommai and Minister Nagesh are expected to visit some UP schools and colleges in Bengaluru on Monday, ministers serving in different districts have also been asked to do the same to “oversee the smooth running” and “inspire confidence in students, teachers, and parents.”

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