Upper-primary classes resume in Uttar Pradesh after almost a year

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Upper primary classes in Uttar Pradesh resumed on Wednesday for the first time in almost a year, days after approval from the Basic Education Department.

In government schools, only Class 8 students went to school as per the government directive while most private schools allowed students of all upper-primary classes to get back to classrooms.

On Saturday, the Basic Education Department said classes 6 to 8 would resume on February 10 while students in classes 1 to 5 would be back in school starting March 1.

According to the government directive, students in classes 1,5 and 6 are to go to schools on Mondays and Thursdays, while students in classes 2,4 and 7 will have to be in classrooms on Tuesdays and Fridays. Students in classes 3 and 8 are allowed in schools on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The government has said classes can be conducted only at 50 per cent capacity, with each half alternating on the allotted days.

School Education Director-General Vijay Kiran Anand said around 43 per cent of registered students in government schools attended classes on Wednesday.

“There are 15.42 lakh students enrolled in Class 8, and as per the data, around 6.6 lakh attended classes. All Covid protocols, including following social distancing and not using more than 50 per cent capacity of a classroom, were followed by all the schools,” he said.

Unaided private schools’ association president Anil Agarwal said parents and students of private schools showed tremendous excitement and around 55 to 60 per cent of the enrolled students were back to school on Wednesday.

Asked if private schools ensured classroom capacity did not go above 50 per cent, Agarwal said since the classrooms used by primary school students were vacant, upper-primary students were spread across more rooms and all schools followed the protocol of not allowing more than 20-25 students in a single classroom.

The Basic Education Department has also released a full-fledged time table for students in classes 1 to 5. According to the schedule, which will be followed till March 31, schools will start functioning at 9 am and the first 15 minutes will be dedicated to prayer and roll calls. The mid-day meal will be served for half an hour from 11.15 am in an open area.

Schools have been told to take precautions such as using face masks and face shields, maintaining social distancing and ensure students wash hands regularly. Schools have also been asked to regularly sanitise classrooms.