GUWAHATI: As the COVID-19 curve has begun to flatten, Assam is steadily opening up more but the rest of the states in the Northeast are not taking any chances.
All government and private elementary schools in Assam, which have classes from Nursery to VI, will reopen on January 1 but in a staggered manner.
Announcing this on Monday, the state’s Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the government would soon issue the standard operating procedure in this regard.
“The government has taken a decision on the reopening of schools. However, if some schools are not willing to reopen and continue with the ongoing online classes as a precautionary measure, we have nothing against it,” Sarma told journalists.
In October, the state government had issued a circular on the reopening of schools for students from Class VII and above, colleges and other institutes from November 2. They reopened but attendance, particularly in the schools in cities and towns, is very thin.
The worries, surrounding the pandemic, made most parents not send their wards to schools. Earlier, the government had said it was entirely the guardians’ prerogative whether or not to send their children to schools.
Stating that the COVID-19 situation in Assam is under control, Sarma said the government’s decision on the reopening of schools was in accordance with an order of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. He said prior to taking the decision, the government had consulted various stakeholders, including teachers’ associations.
Meanwhile, while Tripura and Manipur governments are yet to decide on the reopening of schools on a regular basis, the Mizoram government announced that the schools would remain closed till the end of the year. Meghalaya government took a decision on the reopening of schools for students from Class VI onwards in rural areas from December 1. However, they can attend classes only with their parents’ consent.
Of all the states in the Northeast, Assam recorded the highest number of cases (2,12,617), including 981 deaths. Currently, the state has 3,850 active cases. The overall improvement in the situation made the government to shut down all temporary COVID-19 care centres.