Schools in West Bengal reopened on Friday after a gap of 11 months for classes 9-12, with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol. The educational institutions were shut in March last year in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Though most educational institutions registered good attendance, students who take local trains to reach their schools faced problems due to railway blockades as part of the 12-hour state-wide bandh called by the Left Front.
The administration has asked the school authorities to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines to prevent a surge in fresh cases. Many schools have reopened only for classes 10 and 12, while some have restarted for all four classes. Schools that have reopened for classes 10 and 12 will hold physical classes on a rotational basis every alternate day.
"Students of classes 9-12 will study in schools from today. The government has requested the school authorities to strictly follow the COVID-19 guidelines. I greet all the students and teachers on the occasion. We all have to be careful," Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said. Pupils also seemed elated over attending physical classes which they missed for almost a year.
"We were waiting for this day. Even though the situation is not normal like pre-COVID times but we are happy to meet our friends and teachers. Besides, studies will be more interactive," a class 10 student said. However, some students said they failed to reach their schools due to railway blockades, while parents protested at a private educational institution demanding online examinations.
The school authorities said they are on alert to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines in the wake of reports of a surge in cases in Kerala after the reopening of educational institutions.
Renowned Kolkata schools like Ram Mohan Mission have reopened for all four classes, while some others like Delhi Public School, Haryana Vidya Mandir and Hindu School have restarted for the two classes, officials said.
The state government has given the flexibility to the schools to decide on holding physical classes with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.