New Delhi: All schools for classes 9-12, colleges, and universities in Delhi are set to resume offline classes in a phased manner from September 1. All coaching institutes in Delhi have also been allowed to reopen from next month. However, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said that no student will be forced to come to school or college.Also Read - Schools Reopening: When Will Normal Classes Resume in Delhi? DDMA to Take Final Call Today

Sisodia said the consent of parents will be mandatory for children to return to schools and if they don’t allow it, students will not be forced or considered absent. Also Read - Karnataka School Reopening: Offline Classes to Resume For Classes 1 to 8 Soon? CM Bommai to Meet Covid Task Force on August 30 

Consent of parents must, no student will be marked absent: Also Read - School Reopening News: Madhya Pradesh Contemplating To Reopen School For Classes 6-8 From Next Month

“Social distancing should be strictly followed and no student will be forced to come to the school. Consent of parents will be essential for students to come. If parents don’t permit then students will not be forced to come, they’ll not be considered absent either,” Sisodia said.

Sisodia, who is also the education minister of Delhi, announced the decision of reopening of schools at a press conference that was held after a meeting with Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday.

Classes to be held in ‘blended mode’ – online and offline:

Sisodia said a “blended mode” will be followed in all government and private schools in which online and offline classes will be held so that those who are at home do not miss out on their studies. However, the deputy CM said that students cannot rely on online education.

Decision on resuming rest of the classes after reviewing situation:

He further said that the situation will be reviewed taking into account how the educational institutes are following COVID-19 protocols and only then a decision will be made regarding the reopening of the rest of the classes.

“About 70 per cent people said that schools should be reopened,” Sisodia said when asked about people’s feedback that he had invited earlier on July 28 for a decision on reopening educational institutions in the national capital.

Most school teachers vaccinated:

“In the last one month, special drives were conducted to vaccinate teachers. Nearly 98 per cent teachers and other staff of government schools in Delhi have taken at least first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Even private schools have reported that the number of their vaccinated staff is high,” he stated.

Schools opening so that loss of children’s education can be reduced: Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who also attended today’s DDMA meeting, tweeted saying, “Amidst the decreasing cases of COVID-19, schools are being gradually opened in Delhi with full precaution so that the loss of children’s education can be reduced. We also have to bring life back on track and take care of both the health and education of the children.”

The decision of reopening schools in Delhi comes days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government wanted schools to be reopened as soon as possible but is evaluating all factors to ensure the safety of students.

Watch Manish Sisodia’s full press conference on reopening of Delhi schools here:

Earlier on August 9, the Delhi government had partially opened schools for classes 10 and 12 to visit their schools for admission related work including counselling/guidance and practical activities related to board exams.

After the first wave of COVID-19 hit the country in March last year, schools had reopened for classes 9 to 11 in Delhi on February 5, 2021, but they were again shut on April 9 after COVID-19 cases rose in the second wave of the pandemic.

(With inputs from agencies)