GANGTOK: The Sikkim government has decided to reopen all schools in the Himalayan state from October 19 in a graded manner, an official here said.
Bhim Thatal, a nodal officer of the education department's public relations and publicity wing, said on Thursday that winter holidays will be done away with completely this year, and classes will be held six days a week, with Saturday being a half day.
All notified government holidays, however, will be in place, Thatal said.
The current academic session will conclude by February 13, 2021, and the next will commence two days after, on February 15, he said.
The schools, for various activities, will have to strictly comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid down by the Union ministries of education and health, as well as the protocols set by the state, Thatal said.
A calendar has been prepared by the state education department, going by which the institutes will have to make certain arrangements before reopening -- such as compiling contact details of all parents and ensuring proper hygiene on the campus.
According to the calendar, students of classes 11 and 12 will be able to attend schools on a voluntary basis from October 19, but each of them will have to carry a written permission from parents or guardian.
Similary, classes 6-8 will resume on November 2, and classes 3, 4 and 5 on November 23, all on a voluntary basis, and subject to the COVID-19 situation prevailing at that time.
Educational institutes in Sikkim were shut down in March, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
The state government had, however, partially opened government schools on September 21, with 50 per cent of the teaching and non-teaching staff members reporting for work, and students from classes 9 to 12 attending classes on a voluntary basis.