High Court stays reopening of schools in Telangana

Seeks Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) from the state government by October 4 before allowing physical classes to begin

Schools
The HC said school managements are not under any compulsion to get undertaking from parents for sending their children to physical classes.

The Telangana government’s decision to reopen schools starting Wednesday (September 1) got a setback when the Telangana High Court declared on Tuesday (August 31) that physical classes are not compulsory.

The HC sought a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) from the state government before allowing physical classes to begin. The state has to file a detailed report by October 4 on steps it has taken for safe reopening of schools.

The SOP should reach the stakeholders, children and parents in this case, via print and electronic media. The HC also sought names and numbers of pediatricians available in each district, availability of beds in hospitals for children and other medical infrastructure required in case COVID cases rise among children.

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The HC said school managements are not under any compulsion to get undertaking from parents for sending their children to physical classes. “It would be deemed that such undertakings were taken under duress. Such undertakings would have no legal sanctity,” the HC stated.

The state government has also been barred from taking any penal action against private schools for not reopening schools from Wednesday.

“No student from any school, private or government, KG to class 12, shall be compelled to attend physical classes from September 1,” the Telangana High Court said.

The Telangana government was set to reopen schools from September 1 for classes 8 to 12. The plan is on the back burner now because the high court has made it clear that no student will be forced to join physical classes.

The high court has also stopped the state from opening hostels in gurukuls and educational institutions.

On its part, the state has asked all school managements to sanitize school premises thoroughly. Principals were told to devise seating plans for every class keeping social distancing norms in mind.

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