Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on Saturday, the Education Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma released a set of guidelines for reopening of schools, colleges as well as technical education institutions as they will reopen on November 2. The general guidelines issued by the education department, however, are not meant for the universities in the State as they are governed by institutional autonomy.
Dividing the education system into three parts- elementary and secondary education, higher educational institutions, government engineering colleges, and polytechnics -- the Education department has issued three different sets of general guidelines. As per the guidelines issued, in elementary and secondary education levels, schools will reopen for classes from six to twelfth standards.
Similarly, colleges offering undergraduate courses will reopen for the first semester, third semester, and fifth semester on alternate days. Those offering postgraduate courses will meanwhile follow the instructions and guidelines of the parent university.
The educational institutions will follow all COVID protocols, informed Education Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. Meanwhile, the minimum attendance system which is practiced by all educational institutions has been relaxed for this year. Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the attendance of students is not mandatory and purely based on parental consent.
He said that if any educational institute wantss to continue with the online classes, they can continue. However, teaching and non-teaching staff are required to attend their duties regularly without fail from November 2.
Even as colleges and technical education institutions are to reopen from November 2, hostels will reopen only from December 1.
General Guidelines for Schools are as follows--
1. Classes VI to XII will reopen from November 2 and all other classes will remain suspended.
2. Staggered timetable will be followed for all the classes.
3. Classes for standard VI, VII, IX, and XII will be conducted on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
4. Classes for standard VIII, X, and XI will be conducted on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
5. Classes will be held in two batches, however, if in any class has less than 20 students, then a division in the batch will not be required.
6. The first batch of students will attend classes from 8.30 am to 11.30 am and the second batch will attend classes from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm.
7. Attendance of students must not be enforced and should be purely bases on parental consent.
8. Online mode of education will continue for students who prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school.
9. COVID-19 protocols will have to be maintained as issued by the Health & Family Welfare Department/ NHM, Assam in coordination with the district administration.
10. Every school authority should coordinate with the nearest Health Centre/ Joint Director of Health service, in case of emergency and related health checkup.
11. Students commuting in school transport should feel safe and all safety protocols to be followed.
12. Use of face cover/masks by students, teachers, staff, and all stakeholders is mandatory and there should be thorough sanitization and cleaning of all areas inside the school premises. Working hand washing facilities should be available in the school.