CHENNAI: After a long wait, the State government on Thursday allowed students in classes 10 to 12 to return to schools on a voluntary basis, to seek guidance from teachers, from October 1. This is applicable for government, government-aided and private schools across the State, as long as the campuses are outside containment zones. Students as well as teachers living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend schools.

Schools have been asked to divide students into two batches, wherein the first batch shall come to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the second on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Schools can call half the teachers at a time.

Schools have remained shut since March, when lockdown was imposed. Earlier this month, the health ministry had issued guidelines for partial reopening of schools and had specified that schools were permitted to call students studying in classes 9 to 12, in case they needed guidance.

This arrangement is subject to obtaining a written consent from parents or guardians, and education through online or distance mode will continue. Physical distancing of at least six feet should be followed while making seating arrangements in classrooms, and schools are encouraged to use outdoors for interactions.

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