The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday asked a petitioner challenging the state government’s decision to open schools for classes 6 to 12 from August 2 to modify his petition. The petition will now be heard on August 4.
Hearing the petition, the court of Chief Justice R S Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar found that the SOP issued by the state government regarding the reopening of schools had not been precisely challenged in the petition. The petition was filed on July 29 while the government issued the SOP on opening of schools in the state on July 31, the court said.
While allowing the amendment in the petition, the high court fixed August 4 as the next date of hearing in the matter. Haridwar resident Vijay Pal had filed the PIL in the High Court saying that the government had decided to reopen schools right in the middle of coronavirus pandemic with no preparation or planning.
It was said in the petition that the scientific community has warned of the possibility of children being affected in the third wave of COVID-19. The parents are apprehensive about the schools reopening. It was also alleged in the petition that there is a lack of health services for adults in the state. The health services for children are even worse, the petition said.
Hence the government’s decision to open schools would put the lives of children in danger, it said. If the children get infected, the poor financial condition of the parents residing in remote areas, along with the lack of health services will worsen the situation, the PIL said.
Citing these inadequacies, it sought a stay on the decision of the government with immediate effect. Meanwhile, schools across Uttarakhand reopened after a prolonged closure on Monday for classes 9 to 12.
Covid protocol like thorough sanitisation of the precincts, thermal screening of students at the gates and social distancing were strictly followed. However, the number of students coming to attend the classes was thin.
Most of the private schools in Dehradun remained closed. The state cabinet had decided to reopen both government and private schools in the state for classes 6 to 12 from August 1.
However, slightly modifying the cabinet decision taken on July 27, an SOP was issued for the opening of schools on Saturday allowing them to reopen for classes 9 to 12 from August 2 and for classes 6 to 8 from August 16 with strict adherence to Covid guidelines.