Schools will strictly follow social distancing; SOPs to be released for reopening Delhi Schools: Dy. CM Manish Sisodia

All public and private schools, universities and coaching centres in Delhi will reopen for children from classes 9th to 12th from September 1 onwards. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority of the Delhi Government took a crucial decision on Friday. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that seeing how COVID-19 cases have reduced drastically in Delhi and all over the nation, positivity rates have been at an all-time low of 0.1%, all colleges, schools and institutes will be reopened but will need to strictly follow all COVID-19 appropriate protocol and maintain social distancing. It will not be mandatory for students to attend schools, institutes or colleges and only those students who wish to attend and have permission from parents/guardians can attend. Henceforth, schools will operate using a blended approach. Students will not be forced to attend schools. SOPs will also be released and sent to schools to follow COVID appropriate behaviour.

Regarding the reopening of schools, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet that, amidst the decreasing cases of COVID-19, schools are being gradually reopened in Delhi with full precaution so that the loss of children’s education can be reduced. We also have to bring life back on track and take care of both the health and education of the children.

Shri Sisodia said, “There has been a massive loss of learning in the last 1.5 years. It is a matter of fact that online education cannot replace physical education, and our children have missed out on years of proper learning. Experts agree that online education cannot replace education that is attained in a classroom with a conducive environment. Hence, Delhi Government has taken the decision of reopening all Schools, Colleges, coaching activities in a slow, safe and secure manner. Schools especially should reopen in a graded manner. From 1st September, public and private Schools will reopen for children from classes IX-XII. Similarly, coaching centres for this age-group or higher along with colleges and universities will also be reopened.”

Shri Sisodia said, “Approval of parents will be required for students to attend school. Without parents’ approval, students will not be forced to come to school. All academic activities in school will be conducted in a blended manner. Delhi Government will release SOPs for reopening of schools.”

Shri Sisodia said, “In the last 1 month, we have instituted several drives all over Delhi to vaccinate teachers. 98% of Delhi Government School teachers and all school staff have received their first dose and we are administering the second dose as well. Private Schools have also reported that a high number of staff have been vaccinated. We are ensuring that all staff get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Shri Sisodia said, “When we had asked for suggestions and comments regarding school reopening from parents, students and teachers, at least 70% of people wanted schools and colleges to reopen. The rest of them also believed that schools should reopen in a staggered manner. Only a handful of people did not want schools to reopen.”

(EW correspondent)