Reopen rider for schools
Education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Tuesday the government was in no position to tell when schools and colleges could resume in-person classes, given the spread of Covid.
On the sidelines of a programme in Behala, where a reporter asked him about the state government’s plans to resume on-campus classes, Chatterjee said: “The schools and colleges will reopen only when the situation becomes normal. As of now, the institutions are closed till September 30. How can you even ask when schools will reopen? Covid cases are still increasing rapidly…. I have no idea how you can open schools now.”
The global advisory committee on Covid that the state government has set up is concerned about the situation, Chatterjee said.
That committee, helmed by Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, is helping the state formulate strategies to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the economy, said an official of the education department.
The Centre’s guidelines allow students of Classes IX to XII to go to school to consult teachers from September 21 with written consent from parents. But a senior state government official said on Tuesday evening: “We have not taken any decision on that yet.”
Bengal on Tuesday reported 3,227 Covid-19 cases, 59 deaths and 2,996 recoveries. The total number of cases is over 2.09 lakh. In all, Bengal has had 4,062 Covid deaths till Tuesday.
After a 15-day streak of a fall in the number of active cases, which ended on September 8, the state has seen a rise in count for eight consecutive days.
The state government’s focus will be on reaching education to students in the absence of in-person classes, the minister said. “There is a need to ensure that studies continue and they are taken within the reach (of students). We will see to it…. If there is a rethink after September 30, we will see,” said Chatterjee.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on July 28 said the state government had set a target to reopen the institutions from September 5 on alternate days if the situation allowed. The plan was not pursued as the situation did not improve.