Covid spike: Delhi colleges and coaching centres will remain closed as well, says Sisodia

The government’s recent discontinuation of offline activities in schools will extend to colleges and coaching centres as well, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in an online interaction with students on Saturday.

Sisodia was responding to questions through a social media platform. When asked about the status of colleges and coaching centres, he said, “The idea behind issuing orders for schools was that wherever 40-50 children sit together in a room, there is a threat of transmission… looking at this risk, colleges will also not be opened during this duration.” Sisodia said the same also applies to coaching centres.

Before this, there had been a demand for clear directions by coaching centre owners who said the position on their functioning was ambiguous since no order or SOP had been issued.

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On Friday, the Delhi government’s education department had notified that all offline academic activities for students of classes IX to XII in schools have been discontinued till further orders.

Since children in classes X and XII are in the midst of appearing for their board exam practicals, a common question among students was whether those will also stand suspended. Stating that these will be suspended for now, Sisodia suggested that all activities will be stopped till at least April 20.

“All children are in danger of the coronavirus so these will also be suspended. But we have told heads of schools to talk to the CBSE examiners and move the dates of the remaining practical exams forward… Schools have been asked to push the dates till after April 20 for now… After that, the situation will be reviewed, and hopefully it will be better then,” he said.

Similarly, there were queries regarding exams for class IX and XI students in Delhi government schools. While most private schools in the city have completed the final exams for students of these grades, promoted them and begun the new session, in government schools, they have two sets of exams left. Sisodia said new dates would be announced for these.

There have also been doubts raised on whether teachers will have to report to schools during the closure. The North MCD Teachers’ Association had written to the Lieutenant Governor’s office on Saturday morning requesting that work-from-home orders be issued to teachers as well.

“We have left it to individual schools, their principals and staff bodies to take a call on whether teachers should be called to school or not. Individual schools can decide whether teachers will conduct their online classes from school or home, or whether they require a limited number of teachers at school. There will be no centralised directive from the government on this,” he said.

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