Thiruvananthapuram: Schools in Kerala reopened on Monday, November 1, in a staggered manner after a hiatus of more than one-and-a-half years due to the shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020.
Classes 1 to 7 as well Classes 10 and 12 are now on. They are being held in the traditional format though by adhering to the required COVID-19 protocols, with bio-bubbles in place.
Praveshanolsavam, the ceremony typically held on the first day of an academic year, is being held at schools across the state to welcome back students.
The state-level Praveshanolsavam was held at the Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Cotton Hill, in Thiruvananthapuram at 8.30 am adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
Digital classes too
Meanwhile, offline classes for students in classes 8, 9, and 11 will start on November 15.
Along with the physical classes at schools, the First Bell online classes via the KITE Victers channel and online classes through the G-Suite platform will also be available for students.
The digital classes, which were launched soon after the schools shut down last year, will be held till November 12, as per the revised schedule. The KITE Victers TV channel has been telecasting the virtual classes since the last academic year.
All Class 10 students have been given login id for online classes via the G-Suite platform. Login id will be given to around 8.6 lakh students in classes 8 and 9 by November first week.
"A total of 42,65,273 students are expected to return to the schools in the two phases," General Education Minister V Sivankutty said.
Preparations and precautions
Earlier this month, the state government had given details of the preparations made by it to safeguard students as schools reopen.
The preparations included cleaning and disinfecting places where children throng and strictly implementing the bio-bubble system.
School authorities have been directed to prepare mid-day meal for children and distribute them adhering to COVID-19 protocol besides ensuring them the service of a doctor, the Education Department had ordered.
Along with soap and sanitiser, thermal scanner to examine the body temperature of children, teachers and non-teaching staff have been arranged in each school.
The state decided to restart school education in the conventional format as the COVID-19 cases have reduced considerably.
CM urges for vigil
"With 95 per cent of the population who are over 18 years of age being vaccinated with at least the first dose against COVID-19 and a reduction in the number of new cases and people undergoing treatment for the disease, the state has been able to relax social restrictions," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said earlier.
In this backdrop, the state government has decided to open schools with utmost vigilance and in a staggered manner, the CM stated in a Facebook post.
To keep schools functioning in a safe manner guidelines prepared by the Health and Education departments need to be strictly followed by the schools, he said.
He further said the schools need to implement the measures to control congestion, maintain social distancing and ensure cleanliness in classrooms and the surroundings.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has been imparting online education to the children in the government and aided schools for the last two academic years including the ongoing one.
The CM, on Sunday, said although studies were progressing well via the online method, children were missing out on studying and playing with their friends, and therefore, from November 1 the situation will be back to old ways.