West Bengal schools and colleges to reopen for offline classes
Schools, colleges and universities in West Bengal will reopen on Tuesday after a gap of almost 20 months with students welcomed back with roses and pens amid elaborate Covid-19 safety protocols.
“Our primary intention is to bring back students to the mainstream. We are starting off with class IX to XII. If all goes well, we would gradually bring in students of all classes,” said Bratya Basu, state education minister.
Schools were shut down in March 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic across the country and reopened briefly in mid-February this year for classes 9 to 12 before they were shut again due to the West Bengal assembly elections and the second wave of the disease that hit thereafter.
“As per an order from the Samagra Shiksha Mission we would welcome students with flowers and pens. Everything is set. Markings have been made to maintain social distancing right from the time students enter the school and when they sit in class rooms, staff have been deployed to check whether students are wearing masks and to measure their body temperature with thermal guns and the buildings have been totally sanitised,” said a teacher of a reputed co-ed school in south Kolkata.
Some schools have set up sanitisation tunnels and some have set up isolation rooms supported by trained nurses.
“We have kept beds, oxymeters and oxygen cylinders in a room to isolate students who complain of illness. A trained nurse has been kept on standby,” said Father Bikash Mondol, principal of Don Bosco School.
While students of classes 9th and 11th have to report to school at 9:30 am with their classes beginning at 10am and ending at 3:30pm, students of classes 10th and 12th will report at 10:30am and their classes will be held from 11am to 4:30am.
But not all private schools are following staggered timings. Some have only asked students of classes 9th and 11th to attend classes for the time being.
Some colleges in Kolkata have made the first dose mandatory and some are insisting on complete vaccination with double doses for allowing students back. Some colleges have decided to hold classes only for three days.
“Classes will be held in phases. We have left the final decision on the departmental heads on how they want to bring in students,” said Suranjan Das, vice chancellor of Jadavpur University.