New Delhi: With a decline in number of COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, the Gujarat government on Wednesday announced the reopening of schools for students of classes 9 and 11th from February 1. The announcement was made by state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.Also Read - Massive Dust Storm Heads Towards Gujarat, Rajasthan: IMD Issues Alert For 12 Hours

Speaking to reporters during a media briefing, the minister said, “Schools for classes 9 and 11 to start from February 1, following COVID19 guidelines.” Also Read - UP Schools, Colleges To Remain Closed Till January 30 Due to COVID

Earlier on January 11, schools for classes 10 and 12 and colleges for final year graduation and post-graduation students reopened in the state after remaining shut for over nine months due to the coronavirus outbreak. Offline tuition for all these classes have also been allowed, in addition to the online mode. Also Read - Breaking News Highlights: Maharashtra Reports 48270 New COVID-19 Cases, 52 deaths; Omicron Tally Of State At 2343

Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told the media: “The Education Department had prepared a Standard Operating Protocol on January 8 to resume offline studies for Classes 10 and 12. The same SOP will be implemented for Classes 9 and 11 from February 1. Similar to teaching at school, we are also permitting resumption of offline tuition classes across the state, subject to SOP and Covid guidelines.”

It was also announced that students attending schools must get the consent of their parents. The government had also made it clear that attendance will not be mandatory and online classes will continue.

Educational institutions’ heads will ensure that all facilities to follow the SOP are in place. The teaching staff and students will undergo checks for body temperatures through thermal guns.

Though the government had earlier decided to reopen secondary schools and colleges after the Diwali vacation last year, it eventually dropped the idea following a sudden spike in the daily coronavirus cases at that time.

Later, the number of new cases being reported daily started declining from mid-December.

In the last 24 hours, Gujarat reported 380 fresh coronavirus positive cases, taking the tally to 2,59,867. With two more persons succumbing to the viral disease, the toll in the state went up to 4,381, it said in a release. A total of 637 people were discharged during the day, taking the count of recoveries in Gujarat to 2,51,400, the department said, adding that there are 4,086 active cases.