New Delhi: Schools in the country were closed since March 2020 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but steps are now being taken by a few states to reopen the schools in the wake of ‘Unlock 4’ guidelines announced by the Centre. Notably, some states have decided to open schools from September 21, but only for classes 9 to 12.

Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued guidelines stating that schools and colleges will remain shut till September end, but they can call in 50% of their teachers for facilitating online teaching. Accordingly, students of classes 9 to 12 were allowed to visit schools on a ‘voluntary basis’ to clear their doubts.

Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had issued a notification last week stating that students of classes 9 to 12 can visit their schools, in areas outside containment zones, on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers.

According to the Delhi government, “All schools to continue to remain closed till September 30. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside containment zones only, on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers."

"This will be subjected to the written consent of their parents/guardians and will be permitted with effect from September 21 for which, SOP will be issued by the Health Ministry to be followed by the schools,” it added.

In Haryana, the Manohar Lal Khattar government on Monday decided to start classes for students of Classes 10 to 12 in two state-run schools in Karnal and Sonipat districts on a trial basis after the vast majority of parents of the children in these two institutes gave their go-ahead.

A vast majority of the parents gave their written consent to the decision and it has been sent to the education department, officials said. Some parents reportedly said that as their children have to appear in board examinations and despite the best efforts of the teachers during online classes students are still left with doubts which can be cleared in face-to-face interaction.

Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal told reporters in Hisar on Sunday that the state government was ready to open schools across the state once the Centre gives its nod, adding that the state authorities will need a few days to work out the modalities in view of the ongoing COVID pandemic once the nod comes.

In Bihar, an order was issued by Patna's District Magistrate Kumar Ravi allowing educational institutions to resume classes for students of classes 9 to 12 outside the containment zones. The state government had decided to impose total shutdown in containment zones till September 30.

Schools in Andhra Pradesh, however, are set to resume normal classes from September 21 for students of classes 9 to 12. The school authorities recently issued guidelines as COVID-19 cases are coming down in the areas outside the containment zones.

The students living outside the containment zones would be allowed to visit their schools on a voluntary basis to clear their doubts and take guidance from their teachers. They would have to submit a written consent of their parents and guardians to their respective schools.