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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty on Saturday said that the state has directed the suspension of physical classes till standard 9 until further orders, or two weeks depending on the then prevailing Covid-19 situation. 

The state has said that the suspension of classes till standard 9 will commence from 21 January. 

The state ministry is scheduled to issue revised guidelines on Monday 17 January regarding schools in the state. 

Offline classes for the higher sections, that is classes 10-12 will continue in the offline mode the education minister confirmed. 

Kerala has witnessed a sharp spike on cases positive for novel coronavirus. 

The decision to suspend physical classes was taken by the state cabinet on Friday, 14 January after meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Briefing the media Sivankutty said that classes would remain suspended for two weeks for now.

Sivankutty said, "Now physical classes up to 9th standard will be conducted through digital mode. About 35 lakh students are studying in classes 1 to 9. No severe case of Covid-19 among schoolchildren has come yet. But we have to take precautions as cases are rapidly rising."

The minister also said that new guidelines will be issued for students of classes 9 to 12. "A meeting of higher officials in Education department will be conducted on Monday to issue revised guidelines for classes 9 to 12.

Further, the minister informed that the Covid-19 situation will be reviewed after two weeks and schools will be reopened if the situation remains favourable.

The CM of Kerala also has directed the health and education departments to coordinate and make arrangements to vaccinate students from classes 10 to 12.

An official statemnet from the chief minister's office informed that a review meeting will be conducted in the second week of February to decide whether schools will be reopened to unvaccinated students or not.

"If any clusters formed in educational institutions, Principals, Head Masters will be empowered to close the institutions upto 2 weeks," the statement said.

Kerala reported 16,338 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. The virus has spread mostly in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts, it said. 

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