Educational institutions set to welcome back students as Covid layoff nears likely end

Schools and colleges have reopened in several Indian states after a prolonged shutdown in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. In Kerala they are set to reopen on November 1 and in-person teaching in classes will resume after the state tried online classes fairly successfully during the pandemic lockdown.

As authorities make preparations for the resumption, many parents are reluctant to send their children to the educational institutions as a high number of COVID-19 cases are still being reported, particularly from Kerala.

Meanwhile, teachers are complaining about their increased workload as they have to take both online and offline classes.

The varied situation in the education sector in other states in the wake of the lifting of several public curbs are as follows:

* The schools reopened for classes 8-12 in Covid-free rural areas in July, but the offline school education is yet to return to normalcy. A seven-member committee in the rural areas takes a call on the school reopening. There is also a survey to know the opinion of the parents.
* Though it was decided to resume classes in urban areas in August, the Covid expert committee objected. Resuming classes 8-12 in cities such as Mumbai and Pune, following strict protocol, is under consideration.

* Offline classes resumed for students from 9th to 12th standard on August 23 and for students from 6th to 8th standard on September 6. The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) among students is 0.08 per cent.
* As only 50 per cent of the students attend school on alternate days, the online classes are continuing.
* The government schools recorded a 50-60 per cent attendance. But in private schools, only few students are attending offline classes.
* Classes in colleges started on July 26. But as several people tested positive for Covid, even the nursing colleges had to be shut. Keralite students have been instructed not to go home till October-end and those who are at home have been directed not to return for now.

Tamil Nadu
* Two weeks after the reopening of schools, over 150 students, and 30-odd teachers and school staff have tested positive for Covid. Around 28 lakh students in classes 9-12 have attended offline classes at the schools so far.
* About 90 per cent of the students are attending schools, as per the figures of the education department.
* Students in classes 10 and 12 have to attend school daily, while students in classes 9 and 11 have class on alternate days. Online classes are also being continued.

* Though permission was given to resume 9-12 classes from September 1, most of the private schools appear to be reluctant. In some private schools, only 10-12 classes are being conducted.
* Most parents are hesitant over sending the children to school on public transportation.
* Three weeks after the reopening of schools, no Covid infection has been reported among the students.

* Offline classes resumed for students in 6th to 12th standard in July and students in 4th and 5th standard on September 1. Classes 1-3 were also resumed from this Monday, but low attendance was reported.
* One student is allowed per desk. Only 50 per cent students attend school on alternate days.

Uttar Pradesh
* Classes 1-5 were resumed from this month in two shifts in the morning and afternoon. Nearly 50 per cent students are attending school.
* Classes 9-12 resumed on August 16 and classes 6-8 on August 24.

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