A decision regarding reopening of schools for classes 6 to 8 in Delhi will be taken after the festival season, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said on Wednesday following a DDMA meeting here.
While the L-G did not mention the particular month for a decision on reopening schools for junior classes, sources present at the meeting said it could happen "post Diwali".
"As suggested by the experts, it was decided to consider opening middle school classes 6-8, after the festive season. As suggested by the experts, it was decided to consider opening middle school classes 6-8, after the festive season," Baijal, who chaired the meeting, said in a tweet.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting was attended by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, Niti Ayog member VK Paul, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria,, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava and other senior officials of departments concerned.
"Even as the experts expressed satisfaction at the prevailing situation and efforts being undertaken by departments and agencies concerned, it was strongly reiterated that guards in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and its enforcement cannot be let down, especially in light of the forthcoming festive season," a source said.
"As advised by the experts, it was decided to open the remaining classes in schools after the festive season," he added.
Several private schools have been demanding that the schools reopen now for junior classes.
A group of parents and school teachers had last week staged a protest outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence here, and demanded reopening of schools for students of primary section and classes 6-8.
"Disappointing decision once again by the government. It has been a month since the schools reopened for senior classes and all has been well thankfully so what is the harm in calling other classes as well. The attendance has been less in private schools not because of Covid concerns but because not all schools are providing transport, said RC Jain, president, Delhi Schools Association.
However, Delhi Parents Association's president Aparajita Gautam hailed the government's decision.
"There have already been predictions about a possible third wave in October-November. Also the festival rush can contribute to a rise in cases so it's wise to take an informed decision after the festivals, Gautam said.
Following a marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the national capital, the Delhi government had last month announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions would reopen from September 1.
The Delhi government had clarified that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and the consent of parents would be mandatory.
Allowing only 50 per cent students per classroom, mandatory thermal screening, staggered lunch breaks, alternate seating arrangement and avoiding routine guest visits were among the guidelines announced by the DDMA for reopening of schools and colleges from September 1.
The DDMA had said students, teachers and non-teaching staff living in Covid containment zones would not be allowed to come to schools and colleges.
Schools in the national capital were ordered shut last year in March ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
While several states started partial reopening of schools in October last year, the Delhi government allowed physical classes only for classes 9-12 in January this year, which were again suspended following the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases during the aggressive second wave.
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