New Delhi: More than half the states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, are still undecided about reopening schools, with Covid-19 caseload continuing to increase in the country.
But Delhi, Haryana and Karnataka, among others, have said they are ready to reopen schools between August and September.
The states and UTs gave their responses with regard to reopening of schools during a meeting with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) last week.
Officials in the MHRD, however, said these responses are part of an internal discussion to check the preparedness and “no final decision has been taken so far”.
Educational institutions across the country have been shut since March in the wake of the pandemic and now the government has begun the process of consulting with states and other stakeholders on how and when schools can be reopened.
Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh want to open in August
On 15 July, a meeting via video conference was held with representatives of all states and UTs. During the meeting, more than half the states and UTs said they have not taken any decision so far on when to reopen schools, while some others left it to the central government, according to a document compiling the responses.
The document, a copy of which is with ThePrint, stated that Assam and Puducherry are ready to reopen schools after 31 July.
Delhi preferred to do the same in August, and so did Haryana and Chandigarh. Both Haryana and Chandigarh said they will be ready to reopen schools after 15 August.
Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala gave a September schedule.
More than half the states and UTs, including Maharashtra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Goa and Chhattisgarh, said they haven’t taken any decision so far. Jammu and Kashmir, meanwhile, left it to the central government to decide, the document stated.
‘No decision has been arrived at’
A senior ministry official told ThePrint: “The HRD ministry is collecting information continuously from various quarters. Since no decision has been arrived at, no interpretation can be taken out of the state responses.”
As reported by ThePrint, the HRD ministry has been seeking parents’ opinions on when to reopen schools this year.
The ministry had last Friday written to all states, asking them to get parents’ feedback on when they want schools to reopen. The ministry in its letter gave three options — August, September and October.
The consultations are a part of the process of formulation of school reopening guidelines that the ministry is working on. They are also consulting the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the guidelines.