Karnataka schools for classes 6-8 to start from Sept 6

Karnataka schools for classes 6-8 to start from September 6

The decision was taken at a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, with ministers, experts and officials

Representative image. Credit: PTI Photo

The Karnataka government announced Monday that physical classes will start for classes 6 to 8 from September 6 with authorities relying on the ‘success’ of its earlier decision to reopen schools for classes 9 to 12. 

The decision was taken at a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, with ministers, experts and officials. 

Briefing reporters, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said that schools can start physical classes for classes 6-8 in taluks where the Covid-19 positivity rate is below 2 per cent. "Classes will start with all Covid guidelines in place. Classes will be held on alternate days and 50 per cent of the students will be allowed to attend on any day," he said.

Noting that reopening of classes 9 to 12 evoked a good response, Ashoka said that while attendance was high in government schools, it was yet to pick up in private educational institutes.

There are 2,912 gram panchayats with zero positivity. Classes 6 to 8 can start in Bengaluru where the positivity rate is well below 2 per cent, Ashoka said. 

"Of the 6,472 samples collected from children, only 14 were positive, indicating very low positivity among children," Ashoka pointed out and said this data point was crucial in the decision to reopen more classes. 

A decision on starting classes 1 to 5 will be taken after a month.

Institutional quarantine

The state government has decided to enforce a seven-day institutional quarantine for people visiting Karnataka from the neighbouring Kerala where the Covid-19 positivity rate is 19 per cent. “After seven days, they will be made to take a Covid-19 test,” Ashoka said, adding that Kerala was reporting about 30,000 cases daily.  

The government has also decided to continue the weekend curfew in only four districts - Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Hassan and Kodagu. Night curfew, meanwhile, will continue in all districts.

Ganesha Chaturthi celebration decision deferred

The government deferred a decision on allowing the Ganesha Chaturthi festival to be celebrated in public. There is pressure on Bommai from right-wing groups and party leaders to relax restrictions for the festival. 

Ashoka said that the government was cautious on allowing celebrations for Ganesha Chaturthi festival as the threat of a third wave loomed large in Karnataka due to Covid-19 cases increasing in Kerala and Maharashtra. 

"All Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police were directed to hold meetings with organisers of large Chaturthi events. There are about 30 locations in the state where the festival is celebrated in a big way,” Ashoka said. 

The minister said many memorandums were submitted from festival organisers and elected representatives to relax norms and allow festivities. "Since there are complaints that relaxing norms in Kerala for the Onam resulted in a surge in Covid-19 cases, the government will hold another meeting to discuss which guidelines can be relaxed," Ashoka said.

Based on the Covid-19 situation in the state and other data, Bommai will announce guidelines on September 5.

The government has allowed convention centres to host marriages and other functions at 50 per cent capacity or 400 people. “The number of guests will be limited to 400 in large halls, while it is 50 per cent of the total seats at smaller choultries," Ashoka said, adding that owners of many convention centres had petitioned Bommai to relax norms.

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