West Bengal schools reopen today for Classes 9 to 12 after 20 months of online class

West Bengal schools reopen: Many schools followed staggered timings and some of the schools have set up sanitisation tunnels and isolation rooms.

West Bengal schools reopen today for Classes 9 to 12 after 20 months of online class West Bengal school reopens after 20 months
Anu Parthiban | Nov 16, 2021 - 12:22 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: After a gap of nearly 20 months, West Bengal schools and colleges reopen for offline classes today, on November 16. Schools resumed for students of Classes 9 to 12 with strict Covid-19 safety protocols.

Classes for students of junior and middle schools will continue in the online mode for the time being, even as the state''s Education Minister Bratya Basu has said that efforts are on to gradually bring all pupils back to the classrooms.

Students queued up at school gates across West Bengal since morning as per the schedule announced by the state government for holding classes in different timings for secondary and higher secondary sections. This segregation was undertaken to minimise mingling to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Teachers and staffers welcomed the boys and girls with hand sanitiser and thermal guns to check their temperature and advised them to wear masks at all times throughout the school hours.

Basu has said that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and it is up to them and their parents to take a call on this.

Some parents, though happy over the reopening of schools for physical classes, expressed apprehension whether their wards will adhere to the guidelines for COVID safety since the students will be seeing each other and sitting in classrooms together after a very long time.

Colleges and universities also opened their gates to students on Tuesday, although authorities of some of these institutions have said that different days will be scheduled for various faculties to reduce crowding and mingling on campuses.

"I am thrilled to be back in school after such a long time, interacting online can never be as good as talking to friends and teachers face to face," said Sohini Mukherjee, student of a private school in south Kolkata.

As a government school teacher in north Kolkata put it, "It feels so good that the children will be back among us in the school; in institutions like ours, online can never be an equal alternative to face-to-face interaction between students and teachers."

Students have been asked not to share their tiffin and to adhere to social distancing norms.

"Though I have asked my son to adhere to the norms, I really do not know how far they will actually maintain these, given that wthey will be meeting after such a long time," said Partha Biswas, parent of a class 9 student.

On November 8, however, a PIL was filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking formation of an expert committee for reviewing the COVID-19 situation and providing necessary recommendations in reopening schools. The petition described the West Bengal school education board's decision to reopen institutions from November 16 as "unscientific". The high court on November 11 disposed of a PIL observing that the petitioner is not affected by it in any way.

Schools in West Bengal were shut in March 2020 after the outbreak of Covid-19 and resumed physical classes briefly early this year. However, educational institutions were shut again after the second wave of the pandemic and the West Bengal assembly elections.

Meanwhile, on November 1, the West Bengal Board has released the Class 10 and 12 routine 2022 for board exams. As per the schedule, the Class 10 exams will start from March 7 and end on March 16, 2022. Whereas, West Bengal Class 12 exams 2022 will commence from April 2 and conclude on April 20, 2022.

(With inputs from PTI)

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