Bengaluru, Feb 16 (IANS) Karnataka on Tuesday decided to start regular classes for grades 6 to 8 from February 22. However, this will not be applicable to regions around the Karnataka-Kerala border and in Bengaluru city where Covid-19 cases are being reported in large numbers, Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar said here.
This decision was taken after a meeting with the Technical Advisory Committee for the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday. Schools and colleges have remained shut since March 25, 2020 and students were attending classes online since July.
Kumar told reporters that classes for schools in Bengaluru and in areas bordering Kerala will be held from grade VIII as there is a fear of a second wave due to the resurgence of the virus in Kerala.
“Two apartment complexes and a nursing college had a large number of cases in Bengaluru, therefore, we have decided not to reopen schools in these areas,” he explained.
Students coming from Kerala and Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar districts must carry a negative Covid-19 test certificate that is not older than 72 hours. “This has now been extended to students in Bengaluru as well, and also applies to students living in hostels in Karnataka,” he said.
According to the minister, teachers and students coming from Kerala will have to undergo a test for Covid-19 and after a negative report, can attend offline classes. “Already, the state had introduced Vidyagama for grades 6 to 8, which will be converted to regular classes from next Monday (February 22) onwards,” he said.
He added that a meeting has been convened of all district administrators through video conferencing on Wednesday to discuss monitoring the measures to be taken for the reopening of schools.
At present, the government has begun regular classes for grades 8 to 12.
Answering a question, the minister said that the state government has decided to commence the academic year for 2021-22 from July 15 instead of April/May.
On reopening schools for classes 1 to 5, Kumar said that the education department will meet the TAC on February 25 to discuss the issue.
“There are two analysis reports coming to the department by then – virulence of the new wave of the virus will be known and the survey report (of dropouts) will be out. Based on these reports, we will discuss further,” he said.
The minister said that he was aware that there was a strong demand to start classes from grade one across the state, by parents, SDMC members and educationists, but the government will be taking decisions based on the TAC’s recommendations.