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Calcutta schools to open for classes IX to XII on February 12

Education minister informs schools have already started sanitising their premises for the resumption of on-campus activities
“We will reopen the schools from February 12 adhering to the health protocols. We have already started the sanitisation drive — IX, X, XI and XII. We will also tell the schools to hold practical classes,” minister Chatterjee said at the Trinamul Congress headquarters in response to a question.
“We will reopen the schools from February 12 adhering to the health protocols. We have already started the sanitisation drive — IX, X, XI and XII. We will also tell the schools to hold practical classes,” minister Chatterjee said at the Trinamul Congress headquarters in response to a question.
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Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Calcutta   |   Published 03.02.21, 01:40 AM

Schools in Bengal will reopen from February 12 for students of Classes IX to XII, education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Tuesday.

The minister said the schools had already started sanitising their premises for the resumption of on-campus activities.

“We will reopen the schools from February 12 adhering to the health protocols. We have already started the sanitisation drive — IX, X, XI and XII. We will also tell the schools to hold practical classes,” minister Chatterjee said at the Trinamul Congress headquarters in response to a question.

“Saraswati Puja will be held in a few days’ time. Schools will hold Saraswati Puja. Where is the problem in it?”

Saraswati Puja is on February 16.

Chatterjee will meet the vice-chancellors of state universities on Wednesday to decide whether in-person classes could be allowed in universities and colleges as well. “We will act based on their suggestions,” said Chatterjee.

Campuses have been shut since March 2020 following the outbreak of Covid-19.

An official of the school education department said a detailed advisory on the protocols to be followed by students and teachers had been drawn up in consultation with the health department. “The various offices of the department in the districts will liaise with the schools on the protocols,” said the official.

A section of teachers, however, said the government should leave it to individual students to decide whether they would want to attend in-person classes while the pandemic was still on.

“It should not be made mandatory as one might argue that it is safer to attend classes from home. The parents might fear that their wards could catch the virus in schools. Therefore, a student who is unwilling to go to the school should be allowed to attend classes from home,” said Saugata Basu, a teacher of Uttarpara Government School, who is also the secretary of the Government School Teachers’ Association.

Another teacher said the school education department must seek parental consent before calling a student to the campus.

A school education department official said several plans were in consideration. “Classes could be held on alternate days at the beginning, something chief minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed in August,” the official said.

Many schools have sought the government’s consent to hold at least on-campus practical classes for the students who will write their board exams in a month. Teachers were worried about their lack of basic hands-on training.

Headmasters were repeatedly getting in touch with the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, seeking to know when in-person classes could resume.

Calcutta University has been holding practical classes at the postgraduate level since January 18.

“We are looking forward to Wednesday’s meeting, which will decide whether in-person classes could resume in the colleges,” said an official of CU.



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