New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi will push for immediate reopening of schools for classes 9-12, at Thursday’s meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told thePrint.
Physical classes in Delhi schools were suspended on 28 December under orders of the DDMA after the country saw a surge in Covid cases due to the Omicron variant.
The DDMA is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who takes the final call on all matters concerning Covid-19 regulations in the national capital. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is the vice-chairperson of the authority, and Sisodia is a member.
The decision comes two days after Maharashtra reopened schools. The Haryana government, too, has decided to reopen schools for classes for 10-12 from 1 February. Karnataka government has said it is also keen on the resumption of physical classes.
The Delhi government will also push for the withdrawal of weekend curfew and the odd-even rule in markets, which essentially allows shops to function on alternate weekdays. Last week, the government’s proposal in this regard was rejected by Baijal.
Reopening of schools in a phased manner
On Wednesday, Sisodia said, he met a delegation that submitted to him a memorandum signed by 1,600 parents seeking reopening of schools.
After the meeting, he tweeted that he agreed with their demands.
I agree with their demands.
We closed school when it was not safe for children but excessive caution is now harming our children.
A generation of children will be left behind if we do not open our schools now. https://t.co/UgIwQjJZbo
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) January 26, 2022
When asked if the government will push for reopening of schools at Thursday’s DDMA meeting, Sisodia said: “Yes, we would. We would have pushed for reopening of all classes. But if it is to be done in a phased manner, we will push for classes 9-12 to reopen immediately.”
A senior Delhi government official, who did not wish to be identified, said that Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s Education Minister, held a meeting Tuesday in this regard.
“The government has also issued directions to school teachers to ensure that at least 90 per cent of students aged 15 and above, who are eligible for vaccination, are vaccinated by 31 January. They should check for each student enrolled in classes headed by them,” said the official, adding that parents’ consent will be necessary for physical attendance and provision for online classes would continue.
In the last two years, physical classes in Delhi’s schools were mostly suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2021, Delhi schools were shut for 85 weeks — fully for 65 weeks, and partially for 20 weeks.
Schools reopened on 1 November but classes had to be suspended from 15 November due to air pollution. The schools reopened again on 29 November only to be suspended from 3 December due to poor air quality. Schools resumed for classes 6 and above from 18 December and were suspended again from 28 December due to an uptick in Covid cases.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)