As the third wave of COVID-19 shows signs of ebbing, schools here resumed offline classes on Monday after the Jammu and Kashmir administration ordered the phased opening of educational institutions across the union territory.
Students of classes 9 to 12, dressed in uniforms and carrying vaccination certificates, were seen thronging their institutions in Jammu and other districts of the region on Monday morning, officials said.
In an order issued on Sunday, the state executive committee had said all universities, colleges, polytechnic institutes, ITIs, and classes from 9 to 12 can commence their routine offline teaching by following Covid Appropriate Behaviour and standard operating procedures from February 14.
However, most of the educational institutions, including universities and colleges, remained closed and are likely to resume activities in a day or two after making necessary arrangements.
The officials said the attendance in both private and government high and higher secondary schools on Monday was low, but it was expected to pick up in the coming days.
A Jammu University official said since the order was issued on Sunday evening, they were finalizing the arrangements to reopen the university.
In summer zone schools, the offline mode of teaching for the remaining junior classes shall begin from February 21, allowing the students to attend school after over two years.
Offline teaching at all schools in the winter zone will commence after February 28.
The schools situated in the winter zone of Kashmir and snow-bound parts of the Jammu region are currently on winter vacation.
Welcoming the decision of the administration to open educational institutions, the principal of Shiksha Niketan Higher Secondary School, Rajeev Nagar, Rameshwar Mengi said, “…it is a happy moment for all of us that the students are back in their classrooms.”
“Such a decision should have come long ago…the young buds are the future of the country and the government should accord top priority to education…,” he said, noting that the online mode of education is no alternative to traditional schooling.
He said the school had made all necessary arrangements, including sanitization of classes, screening of students at the main gate and adequate availability of hand sanitizers.
Gourav Gupta, a class 9 student, said he is happy to be back on the school premises.
After remaining shut for about five months, educational institutions opened for classes 10 and above in September last year but the rising cases of COVID-19 forced the administration to shift back to online classes from October.