Sharmili Mallick

With Covid-19 cases declining in the State, the Odisha government has decided to reopen schools and colleges across the State from February 7. The decision was announced by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra at a press conference on Thursday.

Physical classes for students from Class 8 to 12, along with colleges, universities and other technical institutions will reopen from February 7. However, classes for students from KG to Class 7 will reopen from February 14, said the Chief Secretary.

The State government has also allowed the educational institutions to reopen their hostels for students from February 7, while strictly adhering to the Covid-19 protocols of the government.

Briefing the media, Mohapatra stated, “The teaching and learning process has been severely affected since the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The students, particularly children from Class I to V, have not been able to attend schools for almost two years in view of the three waves of the pandemic.”

“All the educational institutions were closed for one month for the safety of the students keeping in view the Omicron wave,” said the Chief Secretary.

“However, it has been learned that the hospitalisation rate and positivity rate during the ongoing wave are considerably less than the earlier two waves. The positivity rate has also come down. Besides, those between 15 and 18 years age group have also been vaccinated in the State.”

“Keeping in view all these aspects, the State government has taken the decision to reopen schools and colleges in the interest of the students,” added the CS.

Short-term training and skill development training under various departments will also open from Monday, informed Mohapatra. Similarly, the hostels attached to these educational institutions will also reopen from February 7.

“The classes for students from KG to Class 7 will reopen in the second phase from February 14. However, the decision to attend online or offline classes lies with the student,” informed the CS.

Besides, educational institutions have been advised to adopt bridge courses. Duration of the summer holiday can be decreased by different departments, if needed, added Mohapatra.