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Schools in Karnataka to remain closed until September 30 2020

Ghalib Hussain

20th September 2020

A representational image of an empty classroom amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. (Source: Deccan Herald)

The Primary and Secondary Education Department of Karnataka has renounced its earlier decision to partly reopen schools from September 21 due to the rising Coronavirus cases in the state and announced that all schools are to remain closed until September 30th, 2020 until further notice.

As reported by IANS, Krishnaji Karichannavara State Secondary Education Director, affirmed, "Though the Centre on August 31 advised the state government to reopen schools from September 21 under Unlock 4.0 for allowing students of class 9-10 to consult their teachers on lessons, we have directed them to defer it.”

In line with Unlock 4.0 guidelines, the schools will only reopen for a limited time to seek guidance from teachers and regular classes will not commence anytime soon. According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on September 8, 2020, only 50 per cent of teaching/non-teaching staff will be allowed on the premises, and attendance is not mandatory for students. Parent consent is mandatory, and the relaxation doesn’t apply to containment zones. Moreover, it is mandatory that hand sanitizers and thermal screening provisions be made available at the entrance of schools along with other social distancing protocols.

This last-minute announcement has resulted in financial losses for the schools. “We have spent thousands of rupees in getting ready for the partial reopening by sanitizing the schools and asking parents to give consent letters,” said Sashi Kumar D, general secretary, Karnataka Associated Managements of School (KAMS). Private schools are also unhappy with the decision. “We had spent nearly Rs 90,000 for purchasing a thermal scanner and automatic sanitizers with sensors on, every floor. They might be helpful in the future, but not now. Teachers and students are disappointed,” BR Supreet from Oxford School, Bangalore, told The Times of India.

On the other hand, children from government schools are said to have not taken a single class online or offline since the lockdown and the teachers fear they are falling behind in their education as they cannot afford the same technology and access as the students from private schools. According to The Times of India, about 55,000 teachers are reported to have lost their jobs in Karnataka and many are being paid less than 50 per cent of their salary. 

Parents and guardians are worried about the safety of their wards. Although the government has assured that safety measures will be strictly followed, it is reasonable for parents and students to be sceptical, considering the alarming rates at which the coronavirus is spreading in the state and the nation.

(Sources: The Times of India, IANS, India TV)

Edited by Mridula Kumar

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