This article is written by – Himanshu Shukla, Student (IP University, Delhi)
The Karnataka government on Monday informed the Karnataka High Court that all government and aided schools will reopen for classes 9 and 10 today in a phased manner.
However, a division bench of BV Nagarathna and Krishna P Bhat expressed concern as to whether such a move could have repercussions.
“This [COVID-19] is going to spread, so we didn’t indicate a date for schools to reopen. Corona hasn’t disappeared. Schools are easy to open but it doesn’t have to be a super spreader.”
The court was hearing a plea seeking reopening of schools that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government further said that the classes would be conducted during the first part of the day and the option would be available for the children and parents to appear physically or through online classes.
Hearing this, the court said that the member secretaries of the District Legal Services Authority will have to conduct surprise inspections to ensure that the schools are taking necessary precautions to keep the virus away.
The circular dated August 16, 2021, contains the basic operating procedure for ensuring the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in schools. State and authorities are directed to ensure instruction and supervision. There is a mechanism in place to ensure that the SOPs are being followed by the educational institutions. In the aforesaid context, Member Secretaries of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), all members of District Legal Services Authority Instructs Secretaries to conduct random inspections in government and aided institutions/schools.
The court said that the member secretary of KSLSA would have to take data on the functioning of schools from the member secretaries of all district legal services authorities and compile it in the form of a report, which would have to be submitted before August 30.
The court further asked whether mid-day meals would be provided to school children after the school reopens. When asked for details about the number of the vaccinated school staff (both teaching and non-teaching staff), the state sought more time to respond to the same.
Accordingly, the court asked the state to put the details on record before August 30 when the matter will be heard next.