Stalin extends lockdown for two weeks, schools to reopen at 50% strength

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin Friday announced the lockdown will be extended in the state for two weeks till August 23 in view of Covid-19. The government also decided to reopen schools for students of Classes IX-XII at 50% capacity at a time following standard operating procedures from September 1.

The School Education Department has been directed to make necessary arrangements. Earlier this week, teachers of government and government-aided schools returned to work.

Stalin said experts unanimously suggested the importance of reopening schools. “Experts said students are depressed since they continued to stay indoors and it has led to a learning gap among them. Moreover, many students didn’t have access to online classes,” he said.

Also, medical colleges and other related institutions, including nursing colleges, have been allowed to reopen from August 16. Stalin said students and teachers in these colleges have been classified as medical staff and have been vaccinated. According to a statement by Stalin, detailed guidelines on how the following announcements will be implemented will soon be issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department.

The government said large gatherings have been witnessed in places of worship and hence Friday, Saturday and Sunday, these places will be restricted for the public. Also, to avoid crowds, fish and meat stalls have been directed to set up individual stalls in open places. The local municipality authorities have been instructed to ensure shopkeepers are following the rules.

Further, Stalin said, “After the district collectors/corporation commissioners/police personnel took action against large gatherings in markets and other places, the spread of Covid has been brought under control.”

The government also reiterated the earlier guidelines. All shops have been instructed to keep hand sanitizers in dispensers at the entrances. They have also been asked to conduct thermal screening. Both the workers and the customers at shops have to mandatorily wear masks and maintain social distance. The public have been asked to follow the Covid-19 guidelines and to step out only if necessary.

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