The Telangana High Court today issued interim orders staying the state government's recent decision to reopen all educational institutions
from September 1 and directed it not to "pressure" students' guardians from sending their wards for onsite classes.
Addressing a petition filed by one M Balakrishna who had voiced his concerns about the resumption of physical classes, the court said that private schools and colleges could take the decision to start regular classes but that they did not have the right to "force" students to attend the same.
"Institutions can conduct either online or regular classes depending on the pandemic situation in the state. In the same way, students' parents can either choose to send their children for onsite classes or they can choose to not do so. The government meanwhile must not take any action against educational institutions on the basis of the mode of classes being carried out by them, and it cannot take action against the students for absences from regular classes either," the bench hearing the matter stated.
The HC then discussed the details of the reopening procedure amidst talks of the possible third wave and sought to know the level of preparedness of the government and the state's educational institutions to handle the situation. Further, the government was asked to issue guidelines to clarify the matter of the reopening of the institutions within a week.
"Given the current pubic health situation, the government should also refrain from reopening the state-run Gurukuls and hostels as well. Since there are reports warning of a possible third wave, the state administration should first focus on taking measures to prepare for the same," it added.
The matter was then adjourned till October 4.
Today's hearing comes after the Telangana government recently announced that the schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the state would be reopened from September 1.
Reports say that all the arrangements for the same were being made in strict adherence with the necessary Covid-19 safety protocols. In this regard, Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy has already directed the officials concerned to oversee the reopening of the institutions in a safe manner. However, the orders have left many anxious parents rather annoyed with the government.
In fact, following the hearing today, BJP leader Vijayashanti also criticised the government for trying to reopen schools and colleges and asked it to act in a "sensible" manner. She told the government that the judges of the HC had reminded it about the possible third wave in October, and urged it to take the orders of the state's apex court seriously.