School Reopening News: The Ministry of Education has issued Standard Operating Procedures for the reopening of schools and has empowered states/UTs to decide on resumption of normal classes after October 15. Notably, schools, colleges and other educational institutions across the country have been closed since mid-March, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several states and UTs reopened the educational institutions in a phased manner from September 21, after the Centre issued guidelines for ‘Unlock 4’ and said that schools can call 50 per cent of the teachers taking classes for 10th, 11th and 12th classes at a time in areas outside the Covid-19 containment zones. Also Read - This State Shuts Reopened Schools to Observe 'COVID-19 no Tolerance Fortnight' | Read Details

What are the changes that students can expect amid the pandemic? Also Read - Will Schools be Reopened in Delhi This Year? Latest Developments You Should Know

First and foremost, students will not be able to go to school without the written permission of their parents. Everyone will have to wear masks and maintain six feet gap for social distancing at all times in areas involving classes, laboratories and sports. Frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette would be encouraged. Also Read - School Reopening News: Sikkim to Reopen All Schools From October 19 in Graded Manner; No Winter Breaks, 6-Day Week | Read Here Complete Plan

As attendance is likely to be rotational, students (when at home) will be asked to self-study chapters that are “essential but conceptually easier to understand”.

On days when the weather is pleasant, teachers can conduct outdoor classes, such as in open-air tents. In the wake of the highly contagious virus, sharing of notebooks and eatables will be strictly restricted.

Parents will be requested to use their personal vehicles to drop their wards to school. Those living in containment zones will not be allowed inside the premises.

What about attendance?

The Education Ministry has clearly stated that no student will be forced to come to school. According to the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, SOPs also include the flexibility of attendance. If students want, they can opt for online classes instead of going to schools. Attendance is likely to be rotational, on alternate days, or every two days.

What about evaluation/assessments? 

Schools have been asked to follow the alternative academic calendar of NCERT. During the evaluation, emphasis has been laid on adopting different formats for learning-based assessment instead of pen and paper tests.

No immediate evaluation will be allowed until 2 to 3 weeks after the schools reopen.

When are schools reopening? 

The Centre has allowed states and UTs to reopen schools, hoping will follow the SOPs issued by the Education ministry. While some states and Union Territories are set to reopen schools from October 15, some have delayed the decision to resume normal classes until the end of this month. For example, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government might reopen schools and other educational institutions in a graded manner from October 15, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi have deferred the decision to resume classes.

When are normal classes resuming?

Though the Centre has permitted the reopening of schools in a graded manner after October 15, the states, UTs and schools administration are yet to take a final call on the resumption of normal classes.