As Kerala witnessed a steep surge in COVID-19 cases, State Education Minister V Sivankutty on Saturday announced the suspension of offline classes up to Class 9 students from January 21.

The decision has been taken after chairing a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday. The classes will remain suspended for a period of two weeks.

Briefing media persons here today, Sivankutty said, “Now physical classes up to 9th standard will be conducted through digital mode. About 35 lakh students are studying in classes 1 to 9. No severe case of COVID-19 among schoolchildren has come yet. But we have to take precautions as cases are rapidly rising.”

The minister also said that new guidelines will be issued for students of classes 9 to 12. A meeting of higher officials in the Education department will be conducted on Monday to issue revised guidelines for classes 9 to 12.

Informing about the completion of the syllabus, he said that the syllabus of SSLC will be completed by the first week of February and the syllabus of higher secondary classes will be completed by the last week of February.

“There are opinions from experts that no need to suspend offline classes in schools, however, the government do not want to experiment with children,” he added. Further, the minister informed that the COVID-19 situation will be reviewed after two weeks and schools will be reopened if the situation remains favourable. 

Meanwhile, continuing the surge, Kerala on Saturday recorded over 17,000 new Covid-19 cases with at least 17,755 people testing positive for the coronavirus, officials said. A statement issued by Health Minister Veena George said 65,937 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. The test positivity rate (TPR) has risen to 26.92 percent.

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