Back to Class: Schools and colleges to reopen in Jammu and Kashmir. Here's all you need to know

In a series of measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on April 18 had ordered closure of all educational institutions
School Classroom | Pic: Express
School Classroom | Pic: Express

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday allowed the reopening of higher educational institutions and schools for students of Classes 10 and 12 with certain conditions. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A.K. Mehta. It was also decided to retain most of the COVID-19 containment guidelines, including night curfew.

In a series of measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on April 18 had ordered closure of all educational institutions, including universities and colleges, till further orders. In an order issued after a review of the COVID-19 situation, Mehta, who is also the chairperson of the State Executive Committee (SEC), said classes for students of Class 12 would be permitted with in-person attendance not exceeding 50 per cent of capacity on a given day.

"Consent shall be obtained from the parents of all students who are willing to attend school. The school premises should be thoroughly sanitised, proper screening regarding vaccination should be done on the school gate. If any student or teacher or other school staff shows symptoms of cough, cold, or fever, they will not be allowed to enter the school. The head of the school must ensure that the guidelines related to social distancing and COVID protocols are strictly followed,” the order read.

The Deputy Commissioners can allow in-person classes for students of Class 10 following all protocols. "The schools, except for relaxations as provided for students of 12th and 10th classes, shall continue to remain closed for on-site/in-person teaching,” the order said.

It said the coaching centres for civil services or engineering or NEET examinations would be permitted with limited in-person teaching for fully vaccinated staff and students. "All other coaching centres shall continue to remain closed for onsite/in-person teaching,” the order further added.

It said the higher educational institutions would be permitted to commence limited in-person teaching subject to 100 per cent vaccination of staff and students and specific permission of the Deputy Commissioners. "Such institutions can organise special vaccination camps in consultation with district administration," the order read and added that the night curfew would continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am, while all deputy commissioners shall intensify testing by making optimum use of available RT-PCR and RAT capacities.

What's happening in other states?

Schools reopened for students of classes 6 to 8 in Karnataka on Monday, by following strict COVID-19 protocols and standard operating procedures (SOP). As per government directions, schools have been reopened in taluks where the COVID-19 positivity rate is below 2 per cent.

Assam has also reopened its schools and colleges on Monday for students of Class 12, final semester students of degree programmes and postgraduate programmes. To maintain social distancing measures, the new standard operating procedure (SOP) also mandated the capacity of a classroom to be not more than 30 students.

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