Bengal closes schools for summer vacation from April 20
West Bengal government-run schools will be closed for summer vacations from Tuesday to combat the second surge of Covid-19, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said.
She, however, ruled out lockdown or night curfew as had been done in some cities across India, saying that “it is not a solution”.
“Schools are being shut for summer vacation from Tuesday up to June. Usually summer vacation starts from May, but earlier too we had closed from April because of the scorching heat,” Banerjee said, while speaking to media at Malda in north Bengal.
State education minister Partha Chatterjee was quoted by PTI as saying, “Due to the present Covid-19 situation, we are forced to advance the summer vacation. The education department will issue necessary notifications today.” Chatterjee said he would also urge private schools to follow suit.
Some private schools have already suspended their classes. Schools had reopened after a gap of 11 months on February 12 for classes 9 –12.
Since last week, government offices have resumed 50% attendance regimen. “We are stressing on work from home,” the CM said.
“I had urged the Election Commission to club the last three phases of assembly elections into one. The earlier the election process is wrapped up, the sooner we would be able to dive headlong to tackle the crisis. The entire administration [machinery] is blocked by elections,” said Banerjee.
The chief minister had, a day ago, written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, flagging the issue of scarcity of vaccines, medicines and medical oxygen supply.
“We are also facing a dearth of space to set up safe homes because many government buildings and stadium have been occupied by Central forces as elections are going on,” she added.
The administration has added 1,000 hospital beds in the last four days and another 4,500 beds would be added in the next few days, the chief minister said.
Around 100 state-run hospitals and another 58 private hospitals have been readied. Satellite centres are being opened in at least 10 city hospitals. There are around 200 safe homes with 11,000 beds. A fleet of 400 ambulances has deployed, she said.
“There is no reason to panic. We are working with the same system with which we tackled the first wave. The state government is taking necessary action,” she added.
Banerjee has already announced that she would not organise any big rallies and roadshows in Kolkata to avoid large gatherings. The duration of her rallies would also be reduced. (With agency input)