State Education Department In No Mood to Press Panic Button
Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in some parts of India, and the possibility of a second wave, the Odisha School and Mass Education department and the Higher Education department have decided to adopt a wait and watch approach to respond to developing situations. The department had earlier promulgated orders for phased re-opening of educational institutions across the state, as Odisha witnessed a rapid decline in the number of active cases.
At present, the state government has allowed the first and second year students of post-graduate (PG) courses and the final year students of undergraduate (UG) courses to appear for classes physically in colleges and universities of the state. Similarly, the school and mass education department has allowed offline classes for the school students of Classes IX to XII.
All such institutions had been shut from March last year as a precautionary measure, when COVID cases spiralled out of control across the world. Even now, there is no consensus on when school for junior classes should be reopened. “We are following the standard operating procedure (SOP) in schools while holding physical classes. We are aware of the situation in Maharashtra and we are taking precautions. The government will take appropriate steps keeping the situation in mind,” school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash said.
Official sources in the Department of Higher Education have said that they are not in a hurry to “press the panic button” because Odisha’s vitals as regards COVID are far better than other states. “We have not taken any decision regarding closing the institutes again. Our classes are going on smoothly with all the precautions,” an official of the department said.