Telangana High Court declines to stay physical classes in schools

Telangana High Court declines to stay physical classes in schools

Declining to stay the State government order permitting physical classes in all schools, Telangana High Court on Thursday instructed the government to ensure facilities were provided for students to attend classes online in all government schools.

The direction was passed by a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili after hearing a batch of PIL and writ petitions on different matters relating to pandemic COVID-19. The bench said the government must make arrangements for students, who cannot attend physical classes, to avail online classes till February 28 in both government and private schools.

Advocate General B. S. Prasad assured the bench that students would be provided with the facility of online classes through satellite channel as was done during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020. He also told the bench that government would deploy additional staff members to ensure people wore masks and followed all COVID-19 norms.

Earlier, senior counsel L. Ravichander pleaded with the bench to stall the government’s decision to conduct physical classes in schools. He cited the space problem in classes to maintain social distance norms and inadequate infrastructure as the grounds to stop physical classes. The senior counsel wanted the government to hold both physical and online classes.

Differing with the contentions of the senior counsel, the CJ noted that it would be difficult for students in remote villages to avail online classes while those in Hyderabad can make use of it. The CJ observed that the issue was not about schools in US or Delhi.

The court was dealing with children in remote villages where students sit on the floor in front of a blackboard. Some of such schools do not even have a table and a chair to sit on, the bench observed.

The bench also declined to impose any restrictions on weekly vegetable markets or bazaars convened in different parts of the city on different days. One of the petitioners requested the HC to impose restrictions on these markets on the ground that all COVID-19 norms were being thrown to the winds there.

“The congregations seen at weekly markets are not more than those seen in front of bars and restaurants in Banjara Hills,” the CJ said. He said the court would not impose any restrictions on such markets as poor villagers eke out their livelihood by selling vegetables and goods at such markets. “Please don’t target poor people. This court directs GHMC Commissioner to ensure strict implementation of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour during markets,” the CJ said.