Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], August 31 (ANI): A day ahead of reopening schools amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Telangana government on Tuesday issued an order stating that no child will be compelled to physically attend offline classes if parents are not willing to send their child to school.
"No child shall be compelled by any school management to physically attend offline classes, if his or her parent is not inclined to send the child to school," read the government's order.
This comes after Telangana High Court directed the state government to not make physical presence of students mandatory.
The order further stated that all schools other than government residential schools, social welfare schools, and tribal welfare schools with hostel facilities are permitted to open from September 1.
The school managements have been given the choice to have either only offline or only online or both offline and online classes, said the state government.
Earlier today, while hearing a PIL filed by Petitioner Mandapati Balakrishna, the High Court directed the state government to file a detailed report on the Standard of Procedures (SOPs) to be followed by the schools within a week.
Later, the Telangana government, in its order, urged Director School Education to lay down the SOPs to be followed by all school managements conducting classes offline within a week and give them wide publicity in print and electronic media.
Telangana High Court advocate Macharla Rangaiah told ANI that the orders of the state government apply to managements of both private and government schools.
"The respondent government should file a reply within four weeks on what are the measures taken in all the hostels run by the government for the safety of the inmates of the hostels," he added.
The advocate further informed that in view of the possibility of the third wave of the pandemic, the government has been asked to submit the number of beds and hospitals available for children.
"The High Court today mentioned that any undertaking submitted to school management by the parent/s in under duress as there is no liability clause mentioned," said Rangaiah.
"All the undertakings or consent forms taken from parents have been declared to be illegal. They will have no legal effect because such undertakings given by parents are considered to be given under duress," said the petitioner.
He also said, "School managements can make a choice whether to go offline or online. This does not mean that they can opt for exclusive offline. They can go for exclusive online." (ANI)