Punjab School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla on Friday said following the conditional approval of the state government, pre-primary classes at all government, aided and private schools will restart from February 1. The Punjab School Education Department had on Wednesday announced to restart primary classes at all schools from January 27. Students of classes 3 and 4 will be allowed to attend school from January 27 while those of classes 1 and 2 will return to their classrooms from February 1, it had said.
Earlier this month, the state government had reopened schools for classes 5 to 12. With this, all schools will be fully functional in the state for the first time after the institutions were shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The cabinet minister claimed that as parents have firmly supported the decision of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government on reopening of schools, he has directed the education department officials and school managements to strictly comply with the COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by the government. The minister said that schools would be functioning from 10 am to 3 pm after an interval of almost 10 months due to the pandemic. He said the detailed safety guidelines have been sent to the schools for strict compliance. Singla said that as the students of pre-primary classes are kids, the department officials and management have been directed to remain more attentive towards them to ensure their safety.
In an official statement here, he said that the schools have been asked to prepare special seating plans keeping social distancing norms in mind apart from compliance of other safeguards, including masks and handwash on regular intervals. Singla said classes 3 to 12 have been reopened in a phased manner and teams have been regularly visiting all schools randomly to make sure that safety norms and guidelines are being observed. He said that they have been asked to sensitise school principals and other officials regarding do's and don'ts regarding the pandemic.
Singla said that principals and school teachers have also been directed to reach out to parents through various means of communication including public address systems to make them aware of the safety norms. He said the department officials, schools heads and teachers had worked hard to reach out to the students for their education through online mediums during the past ten months.
Despite several odds, they succeeded in their mission which saved precious time for students and now final revision would be done in the classrooms, he added.