New Delhi: As we head out of the deadly second wave of pandemic, several states have announced the reopening of schools. An expert committee set up by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) recommended that Delhi schools be reopened in a phased manner.Also Read - JNU Decides Phase 3, 4 Reopening of Campus From September 23 And 27 | Deets Inside
The DDMA expert panel has recommended that schools be reopened for all classes but senior-wing students are called in the first phase followed by middle-class students and ultimately the primary classes, official sources told news agency PTI. Also Read - Over 70 Students, 3 Staff Test Covid Positive In Himachal's Mandi, School Made Micro-Containment Zone
“The panel has submitted its report today. The recommendations include reopening of schools for all classes but in a phase-wise manner. The report will be studied in detail and a final decision will be taken soon in this regard,” an official told PTI. Also Read - School Reopening Latest Update: 'Let Governments Decide', Supreme Court's BIG Statement on Reopening of Schools
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier proposed that schools be reopened in the national capital as soon as possible but said that his government was evaluating all factors to ensure the safety of students.
Currently, students of classes 10, 11 and 12 can voluntarily visit schools with the consent of parents for admission and board-exam related activities.
Asked about the DDMA panel report, Kejriwal told reporters, “There has been a mixed experience of states which have reopened schools. We have been monitoring the situation.”
“We want the schools to be reopened as soon as possible but don”t want to take any risk with the safety of students. We will take a decision soon,” he said.
Noting that there is no harm now in reopening schools in the national capital, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had on August 6 asked officials to set up an expert committee to chalk out a detailed plan.
The DDMA expert committee was set up in July following a parent-teacher meeting called by the Delhi government to take a consensus on school reopening. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had noted that at least 90 per cent of the parents, who attended the mega parent-teacher meeting (PTM) at government schools had voted in favour of reopening the schools.
The committee was tasked with finalising a detailed SOP, assessing the preparedness of schools, vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff and addressing the concerns of parents.
Schools in the national capital were ordered shut last year in March ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
While several states started partial reopening of schools in October last year, the Delhi government allowed physical classes only for grades 9-12 in January this year, which were again suspended following the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases during the aggressive second wave. The Delhi government had briefly allowed auditoriums and assembly halls in schools to be used for training and meeting purposes, but physical teaching and learning remain suspended.