Himachal Pradesh on October 11 resumed physical classes in schools for Class 8 students as well as daily classes in all senior secondary schools, which till now had alternative class days for students of Classes 9 to 12.
Himachal Pradesh education secretary Rajeev Sharma said the decision to allow classroom studies for Class 8 students was taken as the Covid situation in the state had improved.
However, classes below 8 have not yet been permitted to function; the government will first study the impact of the opening of schools for classes 8 to 12.
With students confined to their homes during the long months of the pandemic, many academics have prescribed reopening of schools for their mental and physical well-being, apart from classroom lessons.
“Earlier, schools were reopened for students of classes 9 to 12 from September 27 and we have received good feedback. SOPs like social distancing, wearing of masks and hand hygiene have been strictly enforced by school managements,” said Sharma.
State education minister Govind Thakur said, “The decision to open schools for classes 8 to 12 was taken by the government after taking into consideration the Covid-19 situation in Himachal Pradesh and the positivity rate.”
Most teachers and non-teaching staff in schools have also been vaccinated--a majority of them have taken both doses. Thus, schools can reopen with proper SOPs in a phased manner, Thakur said. Primary and elementary classes, he said, will not be permitted as of now.
To ensure all safety guidelines are followed, including the enforcement of strict social distancing amongst students, principals and headmasters are authorised to implement micro plans prepared by them for their respective schools, a government notification issued on October 8 said.
Himachal Pradesh is also seeing a fresh influx of tourists, in addition to pilgrims visiting such famous temples as Jawalamukhi, Chaumanda , Brijeshwari mata ,Chintpurni and Naina Devi during the ongoing Navratris.
Now that by-elections are to be held in the state for one Lok Sabha constituency—Mandi--and three assembly seats, parents have been asking the state government for some time to resume physical attendance in schools.