The Assam government has initiated preliminary discussions on modalities for resuming classes from school to college level from September.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati on August 1, state Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “There are some preliminary discussions on resuming classes in the state from September 1. But the final call will be taken by the Centre.”
He said the department has drawn an action plan for resuming classes and this will be circulated through official website and newspaper advertisements next week, seeking the suggestions of the people till August 20.
“We will incorporate changes depending on the suggestions, if necessary. We will have to take into account the opinion of the guardians on whether they want to send their children to school from September; and of course, the prevailing COVID-19 status will also have to be considered before taking a final decision,” he added.
He maintained that the modalities have been worked out keeping in mind the rural areas especially, since students in those parts could be missing out on classes through digital medium.
Among the modalities would be compulsory COVID-19 testing of all school staff, including teachers, in the last week of August, and uploading all results through website.
Classes up to Class 4 will not resume in September, while for students of class 5 to 8, classes will be conducted in open areas, including fields or courtyards, with maximum 15 students attending at a time.
Sarma said: “Students can attend classes at schools near their homes, and educated local people can volunteer to teach them. Such volunteers will be provided with certificate of appreciation by the government.”
For students of Class 9 and Class 11, classes will be conducted in the schools two days a week, while for Class 10 and Class 12 students, it will be four days a week. Student capacity in each class cannot exceed 15 and duration has to be three hours.
In colleges, classes for final semester students shall resume, while in case of universities, the vice-chancellors will take the decision on resuming classes.
The minister further said talks were on with the state’s secondary and higher secondary boards to decrease the syllabus or offer more options in the question papers in their annual examinations this year as a special case.
All educational institutions in the state have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.