Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday that schools and colleges in the State will reopen from November 15.
While presiding over the administrative review meeting of Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts, Banerjee said, “Schools and colleges should reopen from November 15. Before that, the schools and colleges have to be cleaned.”
She has ordered the Chief Secretary to see to it that all necessary measures are taken and schools and colleges are properly cleaned before they reopen after remaining closed for nearly 20 months.
According to the sources, schools will only open from class 9 upwards and colleges and universities will reopen. From nursery to class 8 schools will hold online classes.
This announcement comes at a time when Bengal continues to witness a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases post Durga Puja.
The state finance department had sanctioned Rs. 109 crore to the education department for the renovation of 6,468 state government schools in the state, in the first week of October which was indicative that the government was keen to open post the festive season.
In July, several states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, have partially reopened their schools following a downfall in daily COVID cases. While in the month of August, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh had started physical classes.
Though students have welcomed this decision, parents seem a bit concerned as the COVID cases in the state are on the rise with 989 new cases being recorded on Sunday.
Sunita Mondol, mother of a class 9 student said, “My daughter is very excited that she will finally be able to go to school to meet her friends, but I am worried as there is no vaccination yet for those below 18 years and COVID cases are rising. Probably online classes were a better option.”
Meanwhile, Ayushi Mukherjee, a college-goer said, “I had got admitted in college in 2020 but never got to attend any college class or enjoy college life, finally I will be able to go to college, I am very happy.”
Dr Kunal Sarkar said, “For last two years education has come to a standstill. Like adults, children have also been exposed to COVID. There is risk but this risk has to be taken for the future generations.”