New Delhi: Though the ministry of home affairs has not decided to reopen schools from September, the Assam government will start mandatory COVID-19 testing of all teachers and employees of all educational institutions in the state from tomorrow as the state government is looking to reopen schools and colleges from September 1. Only those testing negative will be allowed to join the work, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. Also Read - Just a Day After Lifting Lockdown, This Country Reported 2020 New Covid-19 Cases

The mandatory COVID testing will begin from August 21, he said. Also Read - No Data Available on Migrant Deaths, Job Losses Amid Lockdown: Government Tells Parliament

However, classes will not start on September 1. Only employees will be asked to report to the duty. Students will be called to the class only when the Centre gives a go-ahead. Also Read - Is Govt Planning to Impose Total Shutdown For 46 Days From September 25? Here's The Complete Truth

“The staff of educational institutions must remain in their place of duty by September 1. We will wait for the Union Home Ministry’s order for reopening of schools and we will issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) within 24 hours,” Sarma said.

The staffers, who went back to their hometown due to the lockdown, must return and remain on standby till further orders or else it will be considered leave without pay, he said.

The minister said that following the Gauhati High Court’s direction to the state government on fees, private schools have been asked to give students exemption of 25 per cent.

Sarma directed all colleges to increase 25 per cent seats, and reserve it for students who passed the higher secondary examinations this year.

“The CBSE has given projected results this year as examinations of all papers were not held but in the state council, actual marks were given as all exams were held and this has resulted in a disparity,” he pointed out.

Therefore, all colleges have been asked to increase seats only for this year and reserve it for students of the state board, he added.