Bengal allows reopening of schools, colleges from Feb 3

Bengal allows reopening of schools, colleges from Feb 3

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday the reopening of schools from classes VIII to XII, colleges and universities across the state from February 3. She also extended Covid-related restrictions till February 15 but eased relaxations in several sectors.

"Classes for students studying in 8 to 12 will reopen from February 3. As Saraswati Puja is on February 5, students will be able to celebrate the festival at their schools, universities, colleges, ITIs, polytechnics and similar technical institutions.

"Paray Shikshalaya will be held for the students from classes 5 to 7, where teachers will hold classes for students in their respective localities in an open space. We are not considering reopening schools for primary students at the moment," Banerjee said after holding the state Cabinet meeting in Nabanna.

The CBSE and ICSE schools in the state have also decided to start physical classes for students from classes VIII to XII.

Schools for students of classes IX to XII, colleges and universities had opened from November 16, 2021, but were closed down again from January with a spike in Covid cases. Educational institutions had remained shut since March 2020.

The state School Education department has already announced Paray Shikshalay (locality schools) initiative to help students in the age group of 5-9 years, i.e from pre-primary to class IV or class V (in such cases) in their studies and other co-curricular activities. The learning programme at the community level will be rolled out from February 7 to keep students engaged in a regular learning process and also provide them opportunities to interact with peers and teachers in this interim period and ensure a smooth transition back when the schools reopen. According to sources in the Education department, students of classes XI and XII will also be included in the programme.

Banerjee said with the Covid situation improving in the state, night restrictions will be from 11 pm to 5 am instead of 10 pm to 5 am with effect from February 1. She clarified that everyone should reach their homes within 11 pm and only emergency movement will be allowed after that.

Metro train and local train services have been allowed to operate with 75 per cent seating capacity.

The state government and private offices can now function with 75 per cent instead of 50 per cent attendance. The seating capacities in cinema halls, jatras, theatres, restaurants have also been increased from 50 to 75 per cent.

"All cultural administrative and social programmes will be allowed with 75 per cent capacity of the stadium or hall but the restrictions on holding rallies and meetings on the road will remain limited to 200 people. Problems can arise if further relaxations are offered and we need to follow directives of the Election Commission with civic polls in four municipal corporations round the corner," Banerjee said.

Parks, entertainment parks, zoos, museums and tourist places may open for visitors with 75 per cent of the capacity, read the order issued from Nabanna.

The state government has also allowed all indoor and outdoor sports activities, including swimming pools, salons, beauty parlours, gyms, spa and wellness centres with a 75 per cent auditorium capacity instead of 50 per cent.

The government has also allowed marriages and other related social functions with 75 per cent capacity of the hall instead of 50 per cent seating capacity.

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