Full-time classes in schools unlikely soon in Kerala with Omicron threat

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has decided to put on hold a move to resume full-fledged classes in schools in the light of the COVID-19 threat posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
A per the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday, the total tally of Omicron infections in the country rose to 578, after the highest single-day rise so far with 156 fresh cases.

The current shift/batch restrictions on conducting classes will be lifted only after monitoring the situation. If COVID-19 situation does not worsen, the government may allow full-time classes by the second half of January or February, 2022.

A COVID-19 review meeting, to be chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, will discuss the easing of restrictions in schools.

Though schools were reopened in November, strict curbs have prevented COVID-19 from spreading among children. During the past two months, only under 2,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported among students and teachers. The spread of COVID-19 across the State, too, has come down.

Discussions on conducting full-time classes were started based on these encouraging factors. The government had earlier mulled holding full-fledged classes after the Christmas holidays.

Meanwhile, teachers and parents have complained that the mandatory portions could not be completed so far since classes are being conducted only on three days a week. The major challenge before the government is to complete the portions of Class 10 and 12 students before mid-February ahead of the public exams.

Teachers haven’t been able to cover even half of the lessons of higher secondary classes and the second-year vocational higher secondary courses so far this academic year. However, more than 75% of the lessons of class 10 has been completed. Earlier this year, plus-two students lost almost a month of classes after the plus-one examinations got delayed due to the curbs over the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, two more weeks of classes would be lost between 31 January and 4 February, next year, as the improvement exams have been scheduled then.

On Monday, the Kerala government announced the dates of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) Examination, Vocational Higher Secondary Examination and Higher Secondary Examination. They are set to commence late in March and will finish nearly a month later.

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