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Campus sanitisation ahead of reopening educational institutions

The state govt is taking time to draw the safety protocols before approving in-person classes
Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee
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Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.01.21, 02:56 AM

The state government has started sanitising educational institutions and is taking time to draw the safety protocols before approving in-person classes, education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Sunday.

“It is not that we are not holding any discussion on when the educational institutions can be reopened. We have already started a sanitisation drive at the institutions. Before reopening them, we are taking the time required to prepare the health protocols. Thereafter, the institutions can be reopened in consultation with the state government at any moment,” Chatterjee said in response to a question on when the schools and colleges could be reopened.

The minister said it was crucial that the safety protocols be drawn up before taking a call on reopening, factoring in instances from states that allowed in-person classes only to reverse the decision following a surge in Covid cases.

“It is not just about reopening the institutions. Those who reopened had to close down. We are hearing that those who reopened have reported getting infected with the coronavirus. This has happened in other states. We will reopen schools in a planned manner,” said Chatterjee.

“It is a challenge to think about the health of the students as well as their education simultaneously. It is necessary to reopen the institutions but at the same time we have to ensure that students do not get infected by the coronavirus on the campus,” he said.

An official of the education department referred to the Karnataka government’s decision in late November against reopening schools and colleges in December because of the still raging pandemic.

“The Tamil Nadu government had revoked its order of reopening schools from November 16 for Classes IX to XII. So, we have to tread cautiously,” he said.

Another official said there was a growing demand from the heads of schools that the campuses be reopened before the science practical tests of the higher secondary exams, which are to be held in March.

“Since not a single practical class could be held since March 2020, when all educational institutions were shut down as a precaution against Covid, the HS science students are a worried lot. They do not have the bare minimum hands-on training. Schools heads are requesting that they be allowed to resume practicals for HS students,” he said.

“We have already announced the exam dates. Classes are being held on digital platforms. We are doing everything that we could,” said Chatterjee.

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