Hyderabad: The Telangana state government on Tuesday announced the reopening of schools for classes 6, 7, and 8 from February 24.

Education Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy said that the decision was taken following the instruction from Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who had earlier said that the schools for junior classes will open in a phased manner between February 24 and March 1.

"The Telangana Progressive Teachers' Federation(TPTF) invites the government's decision to start classes for 6,7,8 standards from tomorrow. Online education has caused many ailments among students. Even intellectuals around the world have pointed out that there is no alternative to direct classroom teaching and a live teacher. The decision to open schools late is reasonable," said K. Ramana, President,TPTF.

The minister said that the consent of parents will be mandatory for their children to attend school. The schools too have to follow the COVID-19 guidelines laid by the education department for classes 9 to 12. In January, the government had announced the reopening of schools for classes 9 to 12. On January 12, the school education department came up with the guidelines to facilitate smooth functioning of classes during the pandemic.

Sanitisation Plan

The government had ordered the schools to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation facilities on the campus by January 20. The government also instructed the principals and headmasters to ensure proper availability of supplies such as thermometers, disinfectants, soaps, etc. The educational institutions were also asked to ensure sanitisation of transport vehicles, especially ones managed by private contractors, before plying them.

Logistic Plan

The government had asked educational institutions to maintain six feet distance in the classrooms. The government of India has mandated that written consent of parents should be obtained before allowing the students to join schools. The government also said that this year there will be no compulsory attendance for appearing in exams.

Medical Plan

The government had asked the schools and colleges to make arrangements for providing at least two isolation rooms at every school and college for any COVID-related emergencies with necessary supplies. The institutions were also asked to make a plan of action in case anyone is infected. An SOP to deal with such incidents including immediate isolation, protection to other students, necessary and medical attention to be received, with dedicated staff, should be devised.

Apart from these guidelines, the government had asked the collectors to appoint nodal officers to inspect the institutions periodically to maintain protocol as mentioned in the SOP issued by the government. The state also said that no political meetings or functions will be allowed in all the educational institutions without permission of district collectors concerned.

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