A student of South Point takes off his shirt just after school gave over on Wednesday in a desperate bid to beat the heat. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
If rain brought temporary relief on Wednesday, the government gave students an extended respite by declaring all primary, secondary and higher secondary institutions in the state closed for three days from Thursday.
“Classes in all recognised schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education will remain suspended till June 20 because of the intense heat and unbearable humidity. Classes will resume in all Madhyamik schools on June 22 (Monday),” said a circular to all Madhyamik schools.
This is the second consecutive summer that the government has shut down schools — the duration was five days last year — to spare students the torture of stepping out in such sultry conditions.
Most schools had reopened after the summer vacation on Monday, which makes the “heat holiday” after just three days of classes a bonus for the scorched students.
Teachers and other employees of schools affiliated to the state board will, however, have to report for duty as usual. “Administrative work will continue in every institution according to schedule,” stated Wednesday’s notification.
Krishna Damani of South Point School, which is affiliated to the board, welcomed the government’s decision.
“Children were facing difficulty attending school in this heat. We will be shut from Thursday to Saturday, as directed by the board, and reopen on Monday,” he said.
St Lawrence, Gokhale Memorial, Patha Bhavan, Shree Sikshayatan, Nava Nalanda, Scottish Church Collegiate, Bethune and Sakhawat are some of the other prominent city schools affiliated to the state board.
Several schools affiliated to other boards — Calcutta Boys, Calcutta Girls, Modern High, Birla High for boys and girls, La Martiniere for Boys and La Martiniere for Girls — will remain open but a few have decided to voluntarily follow the government’s directive.
Malini Bhagat, the principal of Mahadevi Birla Girls’ Higher Secondary School that follows the CBSE curriculum, said the institution would remain closed on Thursday and Friday.
Rammohan Mission, an ICSE school in south Calcutta, declared a holiday on Friday but only for the junior section.
“Unscheduled holidays are difficult to adjust. But given the present weather conditions, we have decided to keep our junior section — from nursery to Class VI — closed on Friday,” said principal Sujoy Biswas.
Asit Roy of Lyceum English Medium School in Howrah, an ICSE institution, also announced a heat break for all classes on Friday.
With Saturday and Sunday being normal holidays, that translates into a three-day break for the students.