Schools in Andhra Pradesh will be reopened from November 2, with classes on alternate days for students of grades 1-12, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced in a video conference on Tuesday. While classes for odd-numbered grades will be held on one day, students of even-numbered grades will attend the next day, he said.
Schools with more than 750 students will be allowed to open once every three days and they will have to provide mid-day meal to those attending, Mr Reddy said, adding classes can be conducted only in the morning shift.
The Chief Minister said this system will be implemented for November; the decision for December will be taken after assessment. He said online classes will be conducted for the students who don't want to attend physical classes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schools across the country had been shut since March, when the Centre announced the first leg of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The central government, the highest executive authority in matters related to the pandemic, recently allowed the reopening of schools with strict safety protocols under its Unlock5 guidelines.
Even with coronavirus safety rules in place, only government schools in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have resumed classes for seniors.
According to India's top medical body ICMR, children below the age of 10 are among the groups most vulnerable to the disease.
Mr Reddy has instructed officials to complete the infrastructural development work in government schools under the Nadu-Nedu scheme, by November 15.
He has also directed officials to shift Anganwadi centres running in rented spaces to permanent buildings.
Andhra Pradesh, which is also grappling with floods in some areas, has emerged as the second worst coronavirus-hit state in the country, with over 7,86,000 infections, including over 6,450 deaths.
India on Tuesday reported less than 50,000 new coronavirus cases in a day for the first time since July-end. Experts say the country might have crossed its Covid peak but there can be a resurgence of the virus in the upcoming festive season.