Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is slated to hold a meeting at noon on Monday to decide whether schools must be reopened. The Chief Minister has called for a meeting with the Primary and Secondary Education Department, Health Department and the Technical Advisory Committee for COVID-19 on Monday. The Education Department officials held extensive consultations with the School Development and Monitoring Committee, teachers associations, private school associations and experts before compiling a report on whether schools should reopen.
The Education Department had also requested the suggestions of the Health Department, which are expected to be discussed in the meeting on Monday afternoon.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister B Suresh Kumar told the media before the meeting that he expects the Chief Minister to decide on the issue on Monday as a lot of issues have cropped up after schools, especially government ones, shut down after the pandemic.
â€śWe will submit our report and give them the pros and cons of reopening schools. Off late, we have been receiving a lot of reports that the number of children entering the workforce has increased and there have also been reports of increased child marriages. Private schools have online classes but students in government schools donâ€™t have this luxury. Hence, we are expecting to decide on this issue today,â€ť Suresh Kumar said.
Sources with the Technical Advisory Committee for COVID-19 told TNM that several members had suggested that schools be reopened in phases with resuming offline high school classes starting January. The committee has suggested that students and teachers obtain a mandatory COVID-19 test 72 hours before classes begin. The committee has also suggested that schools must procure letters from parents permitting the children to attend classes. Among many recommendations, it was also suggested that school buildings and buses be sanitised regularly, and hand sanitisers provided in every classroom. The experts also suggested that classes be held in a staggered manner by reducing the strength and holding classes in batches. The committee has recommended shutting schools for primary and middle school students, but reopening them for high school students.