Vikash Sharma

The Odisha government on Saturday decided to reopen schools for class 10 and 12 students across the State from July 26.

Secretary, School and Mass Education Department, Satyabrata Sahu said that decision to reopen schools and resume physical mode teaching for Class 10 and 12 students was taken keeping in mind the problems faced by students in online teaching mode due to poor mobile (internet) connectivity.

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According to Sahu, nearly 10 lakh students of Class 10 and 12 from the State also prepare for various competitive exams including JEE and NEET.

“We have been able to reach out to 40 per cent students via online teaching while the remaining 60 per cent are yet to be connected. These students have lost 150 days of regular teaching days. As both the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) and Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE) have reduced syllabus, resumption of physical teaching in classrooms has become a necessity,” said Sahu.

The School and Mass Education Department Secretary informed that the department will issue a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to schools for the reopening.

Prior to reopening of schools, all the teachers will be vaccinated on priority basis and the District Education Officers (DEOs) have been instructed to ensure that all the Covid-19 protocols are strictly followed.

The schools, which will be used as examination centre for the offline matric exam, will reopen in subsequent phases. Along with class 10, 12, the present online mode of teaching will continue for all classes, he said.

“We have given an option to students to come to school with consent from their parents. Keeping in mind the safety of the students, the decision on reopening of schools will be taken by the respective district Collectors,” said Sahu.

According to Sahu, the schools for Class 10 and 12 students will continue from 10 am to 1: 30 pm and there will be no lunch break. The schools will remain closed on Sundays and on all State government holidays.

“If the Covid-19 situation improves, the schools for Class 9 students will reopen by August 16, Sahu said adding that all the schools will be sanitised one week prior to the reopening.