Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government on Friday announced resumption of physical classes for students of XI and VIII standards after Durga Puja vacations from 21 October and 25 October respectively as the state is witnessing a declining trend in COVID-19 cases.
Classroom teaching for students of classes IX and XII has already been resumed in the state with strict adherence to health safety guidelines.
“The COVID situation has been improving in the state. We will resume classroom teaching for students of classes XI and VIII from 21 October,” School and Mass Education Minister S R Dash said.
“A meeting will be held tomorrow (16 October) with all district education officers (DEOs) of the state in this regard and instructions will be issued to initiate preparations for the commencement of classes for Class VIII and XI students,” he said.He, however, said no decision has been taken for reopening of schools for students from class I to class VII.Schools remained closed from 9 October on the occasion of Durga Puja and Kumar Purnima and will reopen on October 21.While issuing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the purpose, the S&ME department in a notification said the government has allowed the reopening of Schools run by the state, government aided and privately managed Odia & English Medium schools for Classes VIII & XI for the Academic Year 2021-22 under the strategy of graded opening of Schools.The school for Class XI (Higher Secondary) will be reopened with effect from 21 October with timing from 10.00AM to 1.30 PM daily and similarly the schools for Class VIII (Elementary Education ) will be opened from 25 October with timing from 09.00AM.“Both online and offline classes will continue and the students can attend the offline classes in consultation with their parents /Guardians. The Education institutions under the administrative control of ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities may also reopen classes from the above dates following the SOP as prescribed by this Department,” the notification said.
No cooked MDM will be served to the students of class VIII and in lieu of that dry ration will be provided to the students as being provided earlier, it said adding that the hostels for the above classes will also be reopened from the date of reopening of schools following the Covid-19 Protocol and social distancing norms.However, parental consent is mandatory for the students who want to stay in the hostel. The common area of the Hostel including the Mess should be frequently sanitized and the earlier SOP issued by the department for management of Hostels Welfare Department & Social Security & should be followed scrupulously, it said.
The Orders/ Guidelines issued by H&FW Department and SRC (special relief commissioner) should also be followed strictly. The decision of the Collector and District Magistrates for reopening of schools taking into the local condition will be final, the notification said.Meanwhile, Odisha on Friday logged 467 new COVID-19 cases, 54 less than the previous day, taking the state’s caseload to 10,34,276, while five fresh fatalities pushed the coronavirus death toll to 8,279.