The Tamil Nadu government has decided to withhold its previous decision to open schools for students in classes nine to twelve, after a discussion held with parents and school administrations. The government, in a press release, has stated that schools will not be reopened, as scheduled on November 16, till further notice. Meanwhile for colleges, only final year students of post graduation and research courses in science and technology will have to attend physical classes.
The state has also cancelled its previous announcement giving permission for congregations of upto 100 persons for political, religious and cultural events.
The state government took the 'wait and watch' approach, given the lack of mask hygiene and physical distancing observed ahead of the Diwali festivities in shops and other public areas. The government noted that other countries are currently facing a second wave of the pandemic and that the state has to intensify measures to prevent a further spread of COVID-19.
In view of this, the government cancelled the permission earlier given to hold educational, political, cultural and religious gatherings of up to 100 people from November 16.
The state further noted that they received mixed responses on the opening of schools and colleges from November 16. They have thus decided to not open schools. But physical classes for final-year post-graduation and research students pursuing science and technology courses will begin from December 2.
In an interview to TNM, in October, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said, "The festival times will pose a huge challenge to the civic bodies and health department. When you say crowding your mind goes to a Koymabedu market. But ahead of Diwali, Christmas or New Year, a Ranganathan street, Thana street or Purasawalkam can be worse in terms of the crowds it attracts. We have been working with shopkeepers and advised them to ensure masking and physical distancing. We have also told them to not announce any sudden sales and create crowds in flash. We are ready to create focussed containment areas in case of fresh clusters. Any place with over 20 people will be seen as a risk of crowding."
He further pointed out that the time to be concerned is now, to prevent further spread of the virus.
"Now is the time for people to stay concerned and be more worried. Even a single person can create a cluster at their workplace or residence because the duration of contact has increased. We are not letting down the official guard by reducing testing or fever camps," he had explained.