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After remaining shut for over nine months due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools for classes 10 and 12 and colleges for final year graduation and post-graduation students reopened in Gujarat on Monday. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is a must for students, teachers and other staff members, and everyone entering the schools and colleges is being checked using thermal guns, state Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told reporters.

Various state ministers and BJP MLAs remained present at different schools in Gujarat to welcome the students, a release from the state government said.

Chudasama welcomed students at a school in Kalol town of Gandhinagar, while Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja was present at a school in Vastral area of Ahmedabad to greet students.

"There is great enthusiasm among students as schools and colleges are reopening after a long COVID-19 vacation.

Apart from reopening colleges for final year under-graduate and post-graduate students, we have decided to open schools for classes 10 and 12 because of the upcoming board exams," Chudasama said.

Managements of schools have already been instructed to strictly follow Centre's standard operating procedures to check the spread of COVID-19, he said.

Following a significant drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases being reported daily, the state cabinet last week decided to reopen schools for Classes 10 and 12, and colleges for the final year graduation and PG students.

It was also announced that students attending schools must get the consent of their parents.

The government had also made it clear that attendance will not be mandatory and online classes will continue.

Schools, colleges and university campuses across the state were shut after the outbreak of coronavirus in the state in March-end last year.

Since then, classes are being held online.

Though the government had earlier decided to reopen secondary schools and colleges after the Diwali vacation last year, it eventually dropped the idea following a sudden spike in the daily coronavirus cases at that time.

Later, the number of new cases being reported daily started declining from mid-December.

As against 1,500 to 1,600 cases emerging in a day in October and November last year, around 700 cases are getting registered daily at present.

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