New Delhi: Schools and colleges, shut since March as lockdown was announced across the country, will be allowed to re-open from October 15, the Centre said on Wednesday while announcing the next phase of lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions. The final call, however, has been left to the states and the institutions involved. Online and distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged, the Centre said.
The government also gave a go ahead to cinema halls, multiplexes, and exhibition halls, but their reopening will be tempered with certain restrictions.
Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will have to operate “with up to 50 per cent seating capacity”, for which separate guidelines will be issued, said the government, which had so far kept these places shut over concerns about crowds.
What still remains barred is international air travel. Lockdown will be strictly enforced in containment zones till October 31, the government said.
Children below 10 being part of the vulnerable population, the Centre said the decision on reopening educational institutions have to be taken in consultation with the institutions. Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent. Students can only attend school with the written consent of parents, the government said.
The fresh phase of unlock comes as coronavirus cases the country crossed the 62-lakh mark. The number of fresh cases over the last 24 hours was 80,472 and 1,179 deaths were reported, shows data from the health ministry.
The country now has 62,25,764 total cases of coronavirus, including 9,40,441 active cases and 51,87,825 recoveries. A total of 97,497 people have lost their lives to COVID-19.
India, which trails the US in the list of nations hit worst by coronavirus, has been recording the world’s highest daily Covid spike since August 8.