DPI mulls over reopening high school classes in December
It is likely to begin if COVID-19 cases continue to remain low over next two weeks
With a dip in the number of COVID-19 cases reported across the State over the past few weeks, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is mulling over reopening high school classes in December.
Classes for second pre-university and class 10 students are likely to be conducted in the first week of December if the number of COVID-19 cases reported every day continue to remain low over the next two weeks. The department has already drafted SOPs that need to be followed once schools and PU colleges reopen.
The department has convened meetings with several stakeholders, including School Development and Monitoring Committee members, private school managements, teachers’ associations among others over the last week. Commissioner for Public Instruction V. Anbu Kumar submitted a report to the government late on Monday evening.
However, senior officials in the department said they were keen on starting classes for high school students as several States had reopened schools. “We are carefully monitoring the situation in States where schools have reopened. We want to learn lessons from them and ensure that we take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of children,” a senior official said.
H.K. Manjunath, president of the Karnataka State High School Associate Masters’ Association, said that they had told the department that if they would reopen schools, they should start only with one grade. “We have told them to start class 10 on a trial basis for a fortnight and later take a call on whether classes 8 and 9 should be conducted as well,” he said.
D. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said that they had informed the government that they can take a call on when schools would reopen and they would abide by it. “We have told the government that they will have to conduct free testing for the students and staff from time to time and also ensure that students and staff are given free medical treatment if they test positive,” he said. He said that besides releasing the SOP, they also wanted the government to provide clarity on what the protocol should be if a student or staff is tested positive. In addition to that, he said that the association has told the government that the choice of whether classes should be held in shifts or on alternate days should be left to the prerogative of the school managements.
The Ministry of Education too last week wrote to all States and Union Territories that opening of schools was inevitable and had suggested that a rigorous protocol be followed.