The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for Unlock 4 allowing partial reopening of schools from 21 September. According to the guidelines, students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside containment zones only on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. In the northeast too, with a mixed feeling of thrill and apprehension, students of classes IX and XII attended their classes in small batches starting from September 21. Reportedly, students in the rural areas recorded a better attendance rate compared to the urban areas. Notably students shall be permitted to go to school only with prior written consent from parents and only 50 per cent of the teaching and non-teaching staff will be called in.
Incidentally India is not the first to reopen schools.Speaking to Fit NorthEast, parents of a Guwahati based school said "We cannot let our children go to the school as we are witnessing a steady rise in COVID cases."
"It is like signing a death warrant and letting children go to get affected by the virus," they revealed. On the other hand students were excited to go back to the school after a 6 month- long break and difficulty faced from virtual (online) classes. "We are happy to be back to school and meet our teachers and classmates. It was really difficult to do online classes as it was hard for us to keep on recharging our internet along with assignments," said a student. Meanwhile, studies have shown that children are less susceptible to severe COVID-19 as compared to adults. India is not the first to reopen schools. The US did so in early August and within two weeks, it was found that there had been a 90 per cent increase in the number of COVID cases in children. A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association found that COVID clusters were found in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi schools days after reopening.