Several schools across Jammu reopened on Monday for students in Classes 10 and 12 in accordance with new government standards. They did say, however, that attendance in both private and public schools for the two sessions was low, but that it was expected to improve in the coming days.
To avoid the spread of COVID-19, all educational institutions, including universities and colleges, were closed for offline classes on April 18.
Early this month, many higher education institutions began accepting immunized students. According to the latest Covid containment guidelines issued on Sunday evening by State Executive Committee (SEC) chairperson and Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta, the government allowed schools to reopen for in-person teaching for Classes 10 and 12 with certain conditions, including permission from the deputy commissioner concerned and strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior
"However, the classes will be held only after a thorough screening using a 100% Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR, which will also be subject to parental and student agreement," the decree stated.
Rameshwar Mengi, the principal of Shiksha Niketan Higher Secondary School, reported that 20% of the almost 3,000 enrolled pupils in Classes 10 and 12 showed up on the first day.Kunal Singh, a Class 10 student, said he is happy to return to the school after a long gap. "Online is no alternative to offline classes. We will try to utilise the opportunity to clear our doubts and prepare ourselves for the final examination,” Mr Singh said.
Another student, Taaniya thanked the school administration for making necessary arrangements to ensure safety of the students"My parents were concerned about my safety but they will heave a sigh of relief when I will brief them about the strict adherence of Covid-appropriate behaviour by the management,” she said, expressing hope that they would complete their syllabus without any further breaks.
The SEC has also reiterated reopening of coaching centres for Civil Services or Engineering or NEET with limited in-person teaching but only for fully vaccinated staff and students.
All other coaching centres, along with schools for the rest of the classes, will continue to remain closed for in-person teaching, the order said.
Meanwhile, the administration has doubled the cap on gatherings from 25 to 50 at banquet halls subject to certain conditions and also cut night curfew timing in some districts by two hours.
"While maximum number of people permitted to attend indoor/outdoor gatherings will remain strictly restricted to 25, the banquet halls in the districts where Covid positivity rate is below 0.2 and weekly case load is less than 250, will be permitted to enhance limit of guests to 50 for vaccinated persons or those with verifiable RT-PCR or RAT report not older than 72 hours,” the SEC said.
"The district magistrates and superintendents of police will ensure compliance of the order,” it said. While night curfew will remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am, the districts with positivity rate below 0.2 and weekly caseload less than 250 will observe curfew restrictions from 10 pm to 6 am, the order said.
He told PTI, "We have obtained approval from parents of 60% of pupils and are hoping that student attendance would improve in the following days." He did say, however, that the bulk of Class 12 pupils have not been vaccinated since they were 17 years old..