Yet another Indian state has decided to shift its education format from offline to online, in view of the exponential surge in the number of daily COVID-19 infections. The Gujarat state government has decided on suspending offline classes for Classes 1-9 till January 31, 2022. For such students, education would continue through the online mode, as conducted previously. In addition to the closure of schools, night curfew has also been imposed in major cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, and Vadodara, from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, starting today, January 08, 2022.
On Friday, January 07, 2022, the state reported a total of 5,396 COVID-19 infections. Out of the total infections, 2,281 and 1,350 were from Ahmedabad and Surat, respectively.
Amid the rising number of infections, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Gujarat, took to its Twitter account @CMOGuj to announce a list of restrictions and curbs. These restrictions will be implemented starting today to curb the virus spread.
According to the newly-announced directives, students in Class 1-9 will continue their education through the online mode from January 08 to 31, 2022. This period may extend depending on the prevailing circumstances within the state. The rules strictly instructed for the online teaching mode to continue for Class 1-9. This rule is applicable to all government-recognized, government-aided, and self-financed/private schools existing within the state.
What about Classes 10 to 12?
The state government, however, has decided to continue a hybrid education model for Class 10 and 12 students. This means that both online and offline sessions will be held for such students. Although schools are permitted to conduct offline classes, attendance is not mandatory. Moreover, schools have been instructed to take written consent from the wards’ parents for attending offline classes. Moreover, schools must also cater to those who are attending school entirely through the online mode.
In the case of coaching institutes, the state government has permitted the institutes to teach from Class 9 to postgraduate level through the offline mode. They will be allowed to take offline classes for various competitive and entrance exams with a 50% seating capacity. So, such institutes will be operating through the hybrid fashion, similar to schools within the state.
Several schools and colleges in Gujarat conduct their entrance exams for granting admission to qualified students. The state government has permitted the conduction of such exams. However, this must be done in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) specified by the government.
Additionally, the state government has imposed a night curfew in several parts of the state, imposed restrictions on marriage processions, public gatherings, seating in recreational areas, restaurants, cinema theatres, etc. All these measures with the sole intention of flattening the curve.