Chennai: Tamil Nadu has witnessed a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few days. In view of this surge, the state government on Saturday (March 20) ordered the closure of schools for classes 9, 10 and 11 from March 22 until further orders.

However, they will continue to function for the 12th standard students as they have to appear for the board examinations that will commence as planned.

Notifying the closure, the government said the director of public health and preventive medicine has recommended that it would not be advisable to continue classes for 9, 10 and 11 from the health point of view as there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases.

With regard to 12th standard, the director said the students may be permitted to attend school as their numbers would be lesser and they have to sit for the board examination with strictly adherence to preventive measures such as wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing.

“The government of Tamil Nadu hereby order that schools shall be closed for classes 9th, 10th and 11th with effect from March 22 until further orders,” state Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan said in the order.

However, online or digital mode of education shall continue for classes 9, 10 and 11, he said. Further, hostels too would be closed.

Announcing relaxations in lockdown rules, the government had permitted the reopening of schools for 10 and 12 classes from January 19 this year and for 9 and 11 from February 8 after a year, permitting also the re-opening of hostels for those students.

The government allowed conducting board exams for class 10 other than Tamil Nadu State Board as scheduled by those boards besides conduct of special classes to students appearing for the board exam for class 10 and also the functioning of hostels for those students.

While teachers and students were found infected at a school in Chennai, about 55 students besides a teacher at a girls’ school in Thanjavur were admitted to the government hospital recently after testing positive for COVID-19.

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