Hyderabad: Two photos of what looks like government orders claiming that schools and colleges in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will be shut down from March to May have been circulating on WhatsApp. The images contain the logos of the respective state governments and look like official letterheads.
The images of the respective Chief Ministers and the state education ministers can be seen on the top corners of both images. The Telangana order states, "For all the schools and colleges, from March 1st to May 7th declared holidays, due to increasing of the covid-19 cases. This G.O should be passed to all education department and follow the restrictions of the board. Order by Chief Minister of TS (sic)." The letter also bears the signatures of the Chief Minister and the education minister. But under the signatures, it says "Yours Honourable, Chief Minister" and "Yours Honourable, Education Minister". On the top of the image can be seen the words "Government of TS, Education Department".
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government states that all schools and colleges in the state will remain closed from 1 March to 4 May due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases. Under the CM and education minister's signatures, it reads "Yours Sincerely, Chief Minister" and "Yours Honourable, Education Minister". On the top of the page can be seen the words "Government of TS, Education Department".
A red stamp that looks like a seal bears the word "government" on both the letters.
The claim that the state governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have announced two-month holidays for schools and colleges is FALSE.
We found several mistakes in both the images showing that they have been fabricated. Firstly, government orders (GO) do not have the photos of the Chief Minister or any other minister. GOs start with the caption "Government of Telangana" or "Government of Andhra Pradesh" and not "Government of TS" or "Government of AP".
Also, words like 'March', 'May', and 'COVID-19' do not begin with a capital letter. On the image pertaining to AP, there are several grammatical mistakes like 'school' and 'college' which should be in plural. While 'march' and 'may' should begin with an upper case, words like 'Holiday' and 'Increasing' start with a capital letter. Words like 'Andra' (Andhra), 'resictions' (restrictions), and 'Cheif' (Chief) have been misspelt.
The education minister of Andhra Pradesh, Adimulapu Suresh, clarified that no such decision has been taken by the government and schools and colleges will function as per the schedule. Classes resumed for classes IX to XII in Andhra Pradesh from 2 November 2020 and for classes VI to VIII on 23 November. Meanwhile, students of classes I to V started going to schools from 1 February this year.
Schools in Telangana reopened for students of classes IX onwards. Colleges have also reopened in the state. The government has also passed a GO stating that classes for grades VI to VIII will start from 3 March.
Education minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy said the decision was taken following the orders of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The GO on reopening of schools was issued by special chief secretary Chitra Ramachandran.
Both the images are fabricated and the claim that the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have announced a two-month holiday for schools and colleges is FALSE.