Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], February 6 (ANI): After reopening government schools in a phased manner, the Punjab Government on Saturday decided to make the residential "meritorious schools" situated at Amritsar, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Mohali, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Sangrur and Talwara (Hoshiarpur) functional from February 9.
Punjab school education minister Vijay Inder Singla said that due to an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the 'meritorious schools' were converted into COVID-19 care centers and hundreds of COVID-19 positive patients were quarantined there.
The Punjab cabinet minister said that these residential schools were being run under the aegis of 'Society For Promotion Of Quality Education For Poor and Meritorious Students of Punjab' to provide free education facilities along with boarding and lodging exclusively to the students aspiring to crack competitive entrance examinations to seek admission in medical and engineering institutions.
He added that after the decision of reopening of these schools, the directions for strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines have been issued for the students, teachers, mess, canteen workers.
Vijay Inder Singla said that due to the pandemic, the entrance test for admission to meritorious schools could not be conducted last year for the aspirant students seeking admission in Class 11.
"The Punjab government, considering their aspirations sympathetically, has decided to provide an opportunity to the Class 11 students studying in government schools, who have enrolled themselves for appearing in the entrance examination for seeking admission to meritorious schools last year, to take the entrance examination this year. They would be admitted to 12th class in meritorious schools on merit basis for the session 2021-22," the school education minister said.
Vijay Inder Singla said that the Class 12 students of all the meritorious schools as well as the Class 10 students studying in meritorious school, Talwara (Hoshiarpur), who wish to join the school with the consent from their parents, would have to bring the COVID-19 negative report ( RT-PCR Certificate). He added that all the students shall bring necessary belongings like sanitizers, seven usable masks (washable), soap, stationery /water-bottles, clothes, etc. and sharing /exchanging of these items will not be allowed.
"This principle shall also apply to the mess/canteen contractors and workers deployed by them. The guidelines to get the mess, canteen and hall sanitized immediately have been issued. The persons bringing vegetables and eatables for the mess shall also subject to thermal scanning and should have a COVID-19 negative certificate," Singla said.
He said that at the entrance of the school gates, thermal scanners shall be provided to security staff so that all incomers are screened before entering the school premises. The students shall be quarantined for 24 hours after joining the schools. "The aspect of social distancing in hostel rooms, as well as classrooms, would be strictly adhered to. There must be a minimum of 6 feet distance in between the beds in hostel rooms and in classrooms separate benches would be provided to each and every student," he added. (ANI)