Gujarat government has ordered to reopen in-person education from preschools to college with 100 per cent attendance from February 21. A PIL has been filed by Gandhinagar businessman Abhilash Muraleedharan challenging this decision at Gujarat High Court.
He has said that vaccination is not available for children below 15 years of age and this decision can put their lives at risk. The petition says that the circular that was out on February 18 has mandated to reopen schools with compulsory 100 per cent attendance violates the present SOPs that insist on social distancing norms.
The decision by the state government is hasty as the Centre’s guideline prescribes a smooth transition from home-based schooling to formal schooling, says the petition.
In addition, the PIL states that final exams for schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education are due in a few days. It is likely that students who are taking state board exams will have at least a month to adapt. During such conditions, the hybrid system of education should remain in place.
It also asserts that the circular runs contrary to the State Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the state home department, which allows only half occupancy in closed spaces for all educational, cultural, educational, religious, and other purposes. The circular differs from this Covid protocol in that it requires 100% attendance at school and should, therefore, be quashed in the interest of the children. The PIL is likely to be heard next week.