BENGALURU: The Education Department is getting ready to reopen schools for grades 9 to 12 from August 23, despite the rising number of Covid cases. If that materialises, the government may even look at starting offline classes for lower grades from September.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education BC Nagesh told TNIE, “Once classes for older students begin, the department will wait for a week to review the situation, and the Technical Advisory Committee will take a decision on starting classes for primary students.”
As for border districts, respective officers have been given the autonomy to decide depending on the situation locally, he said. A top official, however, said that till now, there has been no discussion within the department on reopening classes for lower grades from September. But, schools and parents have been demanding it, he added.
Meanwhile, experts and different stakeholders are apprehensive about learning regression among students if schools continued to remain shut. Welcoming the State Government’s decision to open schools for grades 9 to 12 from August 23, the National Coalition on the Education Emergency, a body demanding reopening of schools that was set up in July, said lower grades too should restart by holding classes in the open or well-ventilated rooms.
“A large number of lower primary schools in rural areas have a strength of less than 50. Children who come to these schools are in the same bubble in the community and are already playing with one another outside their homes. These should be the first to be opened. Gradually, other classes should be opened with staggered resumption for different classes.
A shift system too should be introduced for larger schools. In-person attendance should be encouraged, but not made compulsory, and children who are attending remotely will need to be provided with meaningful learning opportunities,” the forum said.