Students elated as schools reopen after 18 months in Kashmir

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The classes for 9th to 12th standard students reopened on Monday across Kashmir after remaining shut for eighteen months, initially because of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s limited autonomy and then due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the students in Srinagar seemed to appreciate the order of reopening of schools and seemed happy about rejoining offline classes. “We feel good after coming to school,” said Hyder, a student of 10th standard at Kashyapa High School, Srinagar.

The educational institutes in Kashmir have been closed since 5 August 2019, following the abrogation of J-K’s limited-autonomy and clamped down in the valley. However, the institutes were later reopened in February 2020 but were immediately shut due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

The classes were shifted online across the globe initially during the pandemic months, causing many hardships for the students in the valley due to the restricted internet speed. “We hardly understood anything in online classes,” said Hyder.

Another 10th standard student, Aleena, said “our time has been wasted at home because of low-speed internet.”

The government has time and again urged all students and teachers to follow all the notified Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) guidelines.

“We should wear face masks for our own and other people’s safety,” said Hyder.

The schools are opening in phases, and many have used an odd-even method, which means that only half of the students will be on campus at any given time.

The colleges were reopened on 15 February across Kashmir while the colleges in the Jammu division were reopened on 1 February.

Last week, the government ordered the opening of schools across the valley in phases. Schools were ordered to reopen for 9th to 12th standard from 1 March while the elementary schools have been directed to open for students from 8 March.

“It’s a good step. All students should come to schools,” said Aleena.

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