Unlocking of schools: Centre modifies norms, says states, UTs can decide on consent of parents

The Union Ministry of Education has modified its guidelines on unlocking of schools leaving it upon the states and Union Territories to decide whether schools are required to take the consent of parents or guardians before letting students attend in-person classes.

The modified SOP also stresses on ensuring smooth transition of students from home-based schooling to formal schooling by way of teaching bridge courses and identification of students based on learning levels, introduction of large-scale remedial programmes to mitigate learning loss and ensuring emotional well-being of students and teachers.

“The decision on whether or not parental consent is required for attending physical classes by the students may be taken by the respective states and UT governments,” states the modified Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)for reopening of schools uploaded by the Ministry of Education on its portal on Wednesday.

Under the previous set of guidelines issued on October 5, 2020, the states and UTs had to mandatorily take the consent of parents or guardians. “Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent” said the clause in the SOP which has now been modified.

An official pointed out that the resurgence of Covid cases soon after the modified SOP was issued on December 17 had forced authorities across the country to suspend classroom lectures again.

“Now that schools are reopening across states, the SOP is being circulated again. It also takes into account the extensive vaccination coverage of people including teaching and non-teaching staff,” the official said.

With the dip in Covid cases, states that have allowed resumption of in-person classes so far include Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tripura, Haryana, Telangana, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

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