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Higher grades could return to campus classes

The Karnataka government is planning to reopen classes 9 to II PU first. The expert committee looking into the matter will submit its report next week, said primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar on Thursday. He briefed the media after the SSLC exams were completed.

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However, the expert committee on school reopening may suggest that pre-primary and primary grades may resume first. The expert committee was formed after another committee headed by Dr Devi Shetty submitted its report on preparing for the third wave. That suggested that the school reopening decision should be decentralized. Though many committee members feel that all schools should reopen, but schools cannot reopen at once because of crowding, grades 1 to 5 should start first. The committee is likely to suggest they reopen on August 2. Schools said they’re worried as these children have lost out the most because of the lockdown.

Respective schools will be allowed to decide on the modalities of reopening — a shift system with some classes in the morning and other grades in the afternoon; alternate days or even full school reopening if the number of students is low. The committee is expected to emphasise that teachers should not be forced to complete the syllabus, but the department should acknowledge learning gaps created over the past 18 months.

The committee also feels that midday meals should be restarted at the earliest. Teachers and parents should be vaccinated to create a bubble. All standard operating procedures and hygiene facilities should be in place and heads of the school and SDMC should ensure compliance for the safety of students.

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