Schools, colleges and other educational institutions across the country have remained closed since March 2021, when the second wave of COVID-19 gripped India. While some states had reopened them earlier this year, they had to be shut down in the light of COVID-19 surge.
As India recovers from the second wave, some states are planning to resume physical classes for the students from 1 September.
Which states are reopening the schools? Which states are not? Here's everything you need to know.
While the Delhi government is not planning to resume regular classes any time soon, it has allowed students of classes 10, 11 and 12 to visit schools for admission and board exam-related activities only.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)'s committee is expected to submit a report on reopening of schools to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 25 August. The decision on holding physical classes will be taken post that.
“A decision is to be taken soon on the basis of all factors such as vaccines for children and feedback. Largely, it seems that many people want schools to be reopened," said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, India Today reported.
Schools had reopened earlier this year in Delhi for physical classes but they were shut in April amid the second wave.
Schools in Karnataka resumed on 23 August following the announcement by Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai, for classes 9, 10 and pre-university courses (PUCs).
However, schools will remain closed in Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan as the COVID positivity rate is above or close to 2 percent in these districts.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin released the Office of the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Chennai order on Twitter, announcing that classes for students of Classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 will be permitted in all government, government-aided, and private schools from 1 September.
However, the classes will only be allowed 50 percent attendance at once and will need to ensure full compliance of COVID-19 SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
There is no clarity about reopening of schools in Maharashtra. While the state government had earlier announced the reopening of schools for classes 5 to 7 from 17 August, it revoked the order. This was after the COVID-19 task force advised against it.
Around 6,000 schools in Maharashtra have resumed offline classes for classes 8-12 from 15 July. However, most of these schools are in rural areas and they are yet to resume in cities like Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur.
The government of Haryana on 9 July announced that schools will reopen classes 9 to 12 from 16 July, with social distancing protocols and with an option to continue online classes. The students have to show a written consent letter from their parents to attend offline classes.
For classes 6 to 8, schools reopened from 23 July. For classes 1-5, online schools will continue as of now.
All state educational institutions have opened in Bihar with 50 percent capacity from 12 July.
Bihar's Education Minister, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, announced that schools will reopen in a phased manner looking at the situation of COVID-19.
Schools in Uttar Pradesh reopened on 16 August with all the COVID-19 safety protocols in place, as per the state government. It has been decided that the physical classes will start for classes 9 to 12. However, two shifts will be held of four hours each.
All the students will have to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
Schools in Madhya Pradesh reopened from 26 July with 50 percent capacity.
Physical classes for classes 9 and 10 will resume once a week from 5 August, The Indian Express reported.
Classes are only being held twice a week for students of classes 11 and 12. Online classes will continue for the rest of the days.
Students of class 11 will attend school on Tuesdays and Fridays and class 12 students will attend on Mondays and Thursdays.
Class 9 students will attend school on Saturdays and for those in Class 10, sessions will be held on Wednesdays.
Physical class for classes 9, 10, and 11 resumed in Gujarat on 26 July, but with 50 percent attendance.
The government has asked the schools to follow the SOPs, which included a written consent letter from parents. Attending physical classes would be optional for students.
The lockdown is West Bengal has been extended till 30 July by the government.
It is unlikely for schools or any educational institutions to reopen anytime soon due to the lockdown. The government will review the situation and decide on reopening after that.
Schools in Punjab reopened on 2 August, with COVID-19 protocols in place.
“All schools are allowed to open for all classes from 2 August 2021. They shall follow proper protocol to ensure COVID-19-appropriate behaviour,” read the order issued by the additional chief secretary (home) addressed to deputy commissioners and police heads of all districts.