All schools in Tamil Nadu were shut from March 25,2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

However in the last couple of months the number of Corona virus cases reported in the state of Tamil Nadu has steadily continued to decline. Due to this fact, the government of Tamil Nadu has decided to reopen the schools from January 19, 2021 but only for 10th and 12th Standard classes.

Classes will be reduced to a maximum of 25 students and the standard safety operating procedures will be adhered to including protocols on sanitation, physical distancing, attendance procedures, transport facilities amongst others. The decision comes after the government held a state-wide consultation on whether schools should be reopened after the Pongal holidays.

The government announcement stated that “the consultation which was held until Friday, showed that parents were comfortable sending their children to school in order to prepare for public exams”. Ninety five percent of schools that participated in the consultation said that parents had given their consent to send their wards to school.

The reasoning behind selecting only 10th and 12th standard students for re-entry into classrooms is that they will be writing their public exams either in the month of April or May 2021. The department of Education has taken into consideration the negative learning impact of Covid-19 and online only teaching in the last year and so has agreed to reduce the syllabus of the main topics by 25-30%.

To boost immunity levels, students attending the schools will be provided with Vitamin and Zinc tablets.

Meanwhile the Government of India has started vaccinating the seniors as well as the frontline workers from January 16, 2021.

The return to school has created a conflicting mix of emotions ,both of happiness and anxiousness for the students. Happiness on returning to school and resuming face to face encounters with teachers and friends but anxiousness due to the continuing concerns of Covid-19. Hopefully, as the days pass the children will become accustomed to the new rules and guidelines and be able to fully concentrate on their studies.

Charles Kulandai
Project Manager, India
Chennai

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