Reopen degree colleges first and schools last, Karnataka govt told

Prof MR Doreswamy, advisor to the Karnataka government for educational reforms, submitted recommendations to Deputy CM Dr CN Ashwath Narayan.
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The advisor to the Karnataka government on education reforms, Professor MR Doreswamy, has submitted his recommendations for reopening schools and colleges in a phased manner. Doreswamy has advised the government to reopen degree colleges, pre-university colleges first, and based on feedback, standard operating procedures could be devised for reopening schools. 

Doreswamy, in the letter to the Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan, said that degree colleges must be opened initially as it will be easier to ensure that students maintain physical distance within the campus in the first phase. In phase 2, he recommends reopening PU colleges. In the third phase, he recommends resuming school classes, but only for students in class 6 and up. "Feedback from each phase of reopening can help revise its standard operating procedures to make them more effective," MR Doreswamy's letter states. 

He has not recommended reopening schools for students between classes 1 and 5. "Such a phase-wise reopening schedule would be safer compared to permitting all institutions to open on the same day," the letter adds. 

He further suggested that only those students who live in Karnataka be allowed to attend classes at schools and colleges, while those who have gone back to their home towns or are from other states be allowed to continue online classes. "Reopening may be for only local students to avoid complications arising due to hostels and interstate transport," the letter states. 

He also suggested that classes be held in batches rather than allowing all students in one grade to attend classes at the same time. Another suggestion was that educational institutions sanitise the buildings thoroughly every day to ensure the safety of students. 

Doreswamy also recommended holding educational institutes responsible for the safety of students from the time they enter the campus till they leave. 

His recommendations come in the wake of the Karnataka government mulling reopening schools in the state. The Technical Advisory Committee for COVID-19, which was tasked with formulating a feasibility report, is scheduled to submit it to the Department of Health and Family Welfare on Friday. 

Sources in the Department of Primary and Secondary Education said that the government is not in a hurry to reopen schools and even if it is allowed, and that it will likely only be for students in classes 9 to 12. 

The government is expected to announce its decision after the Technical Advisory Committee submits its recommendations.  

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