The rising cases of coronavirus across the country, schools, colleges and educational institutions have been shut for the last few months and the Centre had allowed partial resumption of activities in schools for students of classes 9-12 on a voluntary basis from September 21.
Though educational institutions were allowed to partially open in many states since September 21 schools are still closed in most of the states. Along with state governments, parents of children are unable to take any concrete decision about sending children to school due to the increasing cases of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Central government has issued the guidelines of Unlock 5, in which an option has been given to open all educational institutions including schools and colleges. Bringing an end to all speculations, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on September 30 issued new guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the COVID-19 containment zones.
The MHA said that the states and UTs can reopen schools, colleges and education institutions after October 15. The Centre also issued various guidelines for the reopening of schools and other educational institutions.
Educational institutions will open after October 15: Flexibility has been given to the states and UT governments to open schools, colleges, educational institutions and coaching institutes in a phased manner. They will be able to take a decision to reopen it after October 15, given the existing conditions. However, for this, the governments will consult with the schools/institute management and follow the given conditions.
Online education/distance learning will continue and will be encouraged. Schools that are running online classes and some of the students who want to study online instead of physically attending school will be allowed to do so. Attendance of students in schools will be applicable only with the written consent of the parents. For these, the State / UTs will prepare their respective SOPs keeping in mind the local requirements based on the SOP to be issued by the Ministry of Education, Government of India.
Guidelines for colleges: The Department of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education can take the decision to open a college / higher education institution in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs. Online classes and distance learning will also be continued here and encouraged.
When will higher education institutions open? Permission will also be given to start labs and experimental classes from October 15 for PhD students of higher education institutions and post-graduate students with science-technology.
For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself/ himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory/experimental works.
In Unlock 5, for all other Higher Education Institutions e.g. State Universities, Private Universities etc., they may open only for research scholars (PhD) and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory/experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State/UT Governments.