Telangana High Court applies brakes on reopening of schools

Schools getting ready for reopening from Wednesday. Photo: Adula Krishna

Schools getting ready for reopening from Wednesday. Photo: Adula Krishna


Govt leaves option for offline or online classes to schools

Hyderabad: The State Government has directed all schools not to compel any child to physically attend offline classes. If the parent is not inclined to send the child to school, the management should continue with online classes, the Education department said on Tuesday.

In a memo issued after the Telangana High Court's directions on reopening of educational institutions, Minister for Education Sabitha Indra Reddy held a meeting with officials and decided that barring government residential, social welfare and tribal welfare schools with hostel facilities, other schools can reopen from September 1. But at the same time, it has left the decision to the school management to have either offline classes or online or both.

"Any undertaking obtained from parents by any school management absolving the school management of any liability if the child gets infected with virus, while in school shall not have any legal effect," the memo said. Earlier, the High Court bench heard the plea filed by Mandapati Balakrishna requesting to take action against State Government in issuing impugned memo no.3724/SE/A1/2021 that directs even pre-primary, primary Government and private schools to be opened physically from September 1 as illegal. The school managements were also instructed to strictly follow the SOPs (standard operational procedures) in conducting physical classes within a week.

A two-judge panel of the Telangana High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice M S Ramchandra Rao and Justice T Vinod Kumar gave a series of directions on the August 24 Memo issued by the government pertaining to reopening of all schools in the State from September 1.

Senior Counsel L Ravichander, appearing for the petitioner, pointed out to the panel various difficulties, including the way the government passed the present memo without putting in place any SOPs for the school.

It was also pointed out to the panel that it would be difficult for students, particularly primary and pre-primary children, to maintain physical distance and wear masks. The Bench directed the State Government to furnish a detailed report on the district-wise Government/private hospitals and beds available for treating Covid-19 patients especially students and children and also to give details of paediatricians in the hospitals concerned. The Experts Advisory Committee appointed by the State Government composed of paediatricians of Niloufer hospital will have to submit a report, the court ordered.

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