Lockdown Extension: Schools, Colleges To Remain Shut, Board Exams Stay Postponed

 

The third phase of the countrywide lockdown begins on Monday and the educational institutions across India will remain shut as well as the pending board exams will stay postponed. The nationwide coronavirus lockdown will be extended by two more weeks from May 4, the government said on Friday, noting significant gains from the six-week shutdown in India’s fight to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Extending the lockdown for the second time, the home ministry announced new guidelines based on the demarcation of the country into red zones with “significant risk of spread of the infection”; green zones with either zero cases or no confirmed cases in the past 21 days; and those in between as orange.

Under the new guidelines, a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone.

These include travel by air, rail, metro and inter-State movement by road; running of schools, colleges, and other educational and training/ coaching institutions; hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants; places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes etc;  social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; and, religious places/ places of worship for public.

However, movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA.

MHA also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into Red (hotspot), Green and Orange Zones. The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the Green and Orange Zones.

Exams postponed

For the exams which were scheduled immediately after the lockdown, a fresh announcement is likely to be made soon from various state boards and universities.

One of the biggest anticipations is around CBSE board exams. The exams will not be cancelled, the Board has already clarified few days before. It will conduct the exam as and when it is ready for so. With the lockdown extension the Board will be able to decide on the exams after third week of May.

Council for the India School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts the ISC and ICSE exams, has also said it will conduct the remaining papers or subjects and no exam has been cancelled.

In a relief for engineering and medical aspirants, the HRD ministry on Sunday said fresh dates for competitive exams –JEE and NEET– will be announced on May 5.

The exams were postponed due to nationwide lockdown announced to contain the COVID-19 spread.

The UGC has already released guidelines on carrying forward academic activities in universities in which it has suggested to begin the academic session in September instead of July.