Students of the primary section from class 1 onwards attended school in Assam for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic struck nearly two years ago while adhering to strict health protocols and other guidelines. Physical classes also resumed for the upper primary section, six months after it had briefly reopened in April this year, only to be closed again as the second wave of the pandemic struck that month.
Online classes will, however, continue for those opting to stay at home, as per the new Standard Operating Procedures issued by the state government. School authorities said attendance was low, particularly in the lower primary section. Premises of educational premises have been thoroughly sanitised and all Covid-appropriate behaviour is being followed, including wearing of face masks and maintaining social distancing, they added.
According to the new SOPs, physical classes for standards 1-8 will be held on alternate days of the week, while from standard 9 onwards, classes will be on a daily basis. A maximum number of 30 students is allowed per section of a class. Parents/guardians are also required to give written consent for their wards to attend physical classes, as per the SOPs.
Meetings and cultural functions are disallowed inside school premises, it said. Physical classes for final-year students of higher secondary, degree, post-graduation as well as technical courses have already resumed from September 6, while those for Class 10 restarted from September 20.
The decision to reopen the educational institutions was taken in view of the improving Covid-19 situation in the state, with the deputy commissioner of a district reserving the right to declare these closed if the positivity rate breaches the 2-per cent mark on a particular day.
In case of detection of any Covid-19 positive case in a school, the local government authority has to be informed, and classes resumed the next day, only after testing all students and staff, according to the new SOPs.
If multiple positive cases are detected, the educational institution will be closed for seven days, the notification said. At least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is compulsory for all teaching and non-teaching staff, while both doses are mandatory for boarders and staff of hostels and residential schools, barring students of the final year under the age of 18 years, it added.