Chandigarh, Oct 15 (PTI) The Punjab government on Thursday said it would reopen schools for students of Classes 9 to 12 in the areas outside containment zones in the state from October 19.
Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla informed that as the home department has issued guidelines for the reopening of schools in areas outside containment zones, the school education department has also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure safety of the students.
He further said the detailed guidelines on reopening of schools have also been sent to district education officers and school authorities for precise implementation while allowing students to attend physical classes.
Singla said after reopening schools, safety of the students will be the utmost priority of the government and a special team of officers of the education department will be formed to implement the SOPs in the schools.
He pointed out that though the schools were being reopened, the online/distance learning classes shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and attendance of all students will not be mandatory.
“As the schools are already conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. The students will be able to attend the physical classes only with the written consent of parents,” the minister said in a statement here.
Singla informed that the parents should also ensure that their ward will be wearing a face mask when they go to school and make them aware about not to exchange the masks with others.
He added that the parents should also encourage their ward to wear full-sleeved clothes to minimise the interaction with any external surface.
The education minister said the schools will open for three hours a day for students and only students of Classes 9 to 12 will be called in school.
No student of any other class will be called to the school. He added, “If the strength of the students is large in the school and social distancing norms are not maintainable, in that case, the school head or management may take a decision on whether to hold the classes in two shifts or call the students at alternate days, at their own level.”