Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced a three-week holiday for students and teachers in schools in Karnataka amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. "I have directed officials to issue an order declaring a three-week holiday for schools from October 12 to 30 in view of the reports that several teachers have been infected by COVID-19," said Yediyurappa in a statement in Kannada.
The holiday applies to private and state-run schools in the state. The decision comes a day after the state primary and secondary education department on Saturday suspended the Vidyagama scheme to teach students of the state-run schools during the pandemic following reports that 34 students in Belagavi and Kalaburagi districts in the state's northern region tested positive. In this scheme, students were taught by teachers in an open space in the community the children resided in.
With schools shut since March 25 when the lockdown was enforced and extended to contain the virus spread, the education department initiated the Vidyagama programme to teach students in state-run schools. In some parts of the state it was started as early as July.
"The Vidyagama scheme has been launched to enable around 42-lakh students from socially weaker sections to learn in classes held in open spaces under trees or verandah in their school premises," an official said.
Though the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued guidelines to reopen all schools and colleges across the country from October 15, the state government has not decided due to no let-up in COVID-19 cases across the state.Sources within the education department had said that there would be no reopening of schools till the end of October at least.
Former state Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy rapped the state government for cancelling the mid-term holidays for teachers despite a surge in COVID-19 cases over the weeks.
"In the midst of the pandemic, teachers of state-run and private schools are forced to attend schools to work without classes. The state government is risking the health of teachers and welfare of their families even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state," said Kumaraswamy.