Guwahati: The Assam government has decided to reopen schools and colleges in the state from 2 November in a phased manner and under strict guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry.
State education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Saturday said all health and safety protocols would be followed at elementary, secondary and higher education levels in the light of the Covid panemic.
“Joining schools will now be a voluntary exercise,” Sarma said.
What the guidelines say
The state education department has issued policy changes for issues like attendance, conducting examinations and timings for classes. While the decision to reopen classes 1-5 will be taken in December, classes 6-12 will reopen November following a staggered timetable. All schools will follow a revised syllabus released by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT).
Students of classes 6,7, 9 and 12 will be called on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and students of classes 8, 10 and 11 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Classes will be held in two batches — the first batch will be held from 8:30am-12:40pm and the second from 1:30pm-4:30pm. However, for any class, if the total number of students is less than 20, then division in batch will not be required.
The attendance for students will not be mandatory, and students can also opt for online classes.
The guidelines, issued by the Elementary and Secondary Education Department, also state that Covid protocols will have to be maintained as issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department and National Health Mission, Assam, in coordination with the district administration.
According to the guidelines, school authorities will have to coordinate with the nearest health centre or Joint Director of health service in case of an emergency and related health checkup.
Use of facial coverings by students, teachers, staff and all stakeholders is mandatory. Adequate supplies will have to be ensured to support healthy hygiene behaviour. Hand washing facilities should be available in schools, with soap and hand sanitisers for safe use by staff and students.
In addition, how students reach and leave schools will have to be monitored by devising a safe transportation system.
Higher education institutes
Guidelines have also been issued for reopening higher education institutions in the state. Under standard safety protocols, college authorities will follow a staggered timetable.
Students of first semester undergraduate courses will have classes every Monday and Friday, while those in third semester will have classes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Classes for fifth semester students will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Colleges have been advised to conduct classes in two shifts — day shift (8:30am-12:30pm) and afternoon shift (1pm-5pm) — to avoid crowding. Students who are unable to attend classes in their respective colleges may opt to register themselves as temporary students in their native places.
Permission has also been allowed for gradual reopening of government engineering colleges and polytechnics. Online as well as blended or mixed mode of teaching will be followed by each institution. The state government has further entrusted University Executive Councils in the state to decide on the reopening of universities.
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