New Delhi: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has allowed all educational institutions to reopen from November 1 following COVID-19 protocols, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday.
Physical attendance is not yet mandatory for students. Schools will have to ensure that classes are conducted in a hybrid mode with both physical and online classes taking place, Sisodia said.
"All private and government schools can be reopened from November 1. However, parents cannot be forced to send their ward to schools,” Sisodia said at a press conference after a meeting with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
The minister also said more than 50% of the students in a class should be called to school. All the school staff are required to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
Quoting the figures shared in the DDMA meeting, Sisodia said around 98% of the teaching and non-teaching staff has received at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
All schools can be reopened from Monday for students of all classes. So far, students from only classes 9 to 12 were allowed to be present in the schools in Delhi since January this year. This was again suspended following the COVID-19 cases skyrocketing during the second wave.
Schools in Delhi have been shut since March last year when COVID-19 hit the country and a nationwide lockdown was imposed.
Asked about the concerns of a possible third wave, the Sisodia, the Education Minister, said, "If the situation turns bad, schools can always be asked to go back to online mode. It will depend on the situation".
At a DDMA meeting on September 29, a panel tasked with chalking out a detailed plan and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening schools had noted that there has been no reported instance of any increased local transmission of COVID-19 in Delhi due to the reopening of schools for Classes 9 to 12.
The panel had also suggested reopening schools from October 1 noting that the attendance of students from senior classes has increased up to 80%. However, in line with the suggestions of experts, the DDMA decided not to reopen schools at that time in view of the upcoming festivals.
Among the DDMA’s previous guideline for reopening of schools and colleges are allowing only 50% of students per classroom, mandatory thermal screening, staggered lunch breaks, and an alternate seating arrangement.
Delhi recorded 38 COVID-19 cases and zero death on Wednesday, while the positivity rate dipped to 0.06%, according to the Delhi government's health bulletin.
(With PTI Inputs)