With barely three days to go for the reopening of campuses, school authorities in West Bengal are preparing to ensure the presence of students of higher classes in a staggered way and keep a watch on the unfolding situation. The school education department has asked the institutions to adopt all COVID-19 safety protocols.

Education minister Bratya Basu had said two days back that the school education department will leave it for the guardians to take a call whether they will want their wards studying in classes from nine to eleven to attend in-person classes from November 16, after a gap of 20 months.

School campuses were shut for students since March-end last year following the COVID-19 pandemic and teaching was imparted on online mode.

Physical classes had started for a brief period for senior school students in mid-February this year to shut down again in April due to the second wave of COVID-19.

The South Point School in south Kolkata will only ask students of classes nine and 11 to attend practicals on scheduled dates from November 16 but the tutorials will continue to be held on the online mode for the next month when the situation will be reviewed, Trustee of South Point Education Society Krishna Damani told PTI on Saturday.

“For students of classes 10 and 12, who will be appearing for board exams, the issue of attending regular classes on campus does not arise,” he added.

The G D Birla Centre for Education here will conduct classes on offline mode thrice a week for students of classes nine to 12 from November 16, a spokesperson said.

“We have rescheduled the routine in such a way that there is no crowding in classrooms so that students can maintain a physical distance from each other and at the same time not compromise with the content of teaching,” he said.

The school authorities will assess the situation for some time and then decide accordingly, he added.

The Head Master of Jadavpur Vidyapith Parimal Bhattacharya said “we have split our classes of nine and 11, into smaller groups and tweaked the routine accordingly. We will also start practicals.”

The school will also conduct exams on the campus for Classes 10 and 12. “It will help them in writing exams on the offline mode,” he said.

Sarbari Brahma, Principal, Griffins International School, Kharagpur said “Students have long been detached from the usual school life. Some of the newly admitted students in Grade 11 have not even seen the school campus properly. So, we first intend to acclimatise them to the environment of the school campus.”

Initially, for three to four days the students have been asked not to bring books and notebooks and the authorities intend to conduct frequent outdoor classes in the garden and amphitheatre of the school, the principal said.

“Campus and hostel tours will also be given to the students who are especially new to the school,” she said.

Whatever is done, it will be done by adhering to Covid protocols as Safety committee members of the school will be on duty along with subject teachers to monitor the same, Brahma said.

At Howrah Jogesh Chandra Girls’ School, two students will sit on two sides of a bench with a ‘don’t sit here ‘ sticker pasted in between the two seats, school Principal Subhra Chakraborty said.

After Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement that educational institutions will reopen for physical classes from November 16 in a graded manner if the Covid situation improves, the school education department and higher education departments issued a notification about starting offline classes from classes 9-12 in schools, and colleges and universities.

However, it was left to the authorities concerned of the respective colleges and universities to discuss the modalities and decide students of which semesters at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels will be given priority for attending offline classes.

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