In the fifth phase of Unlock or returning to  normalcy, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced a set of guidelines on Wednesday evening. Cinema halls have been given permission to open and operate with 50 percent capacity. However, the schools will have to wait for the students as the States and Union Territories will take a call before October 15.

“Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. Students may attend schools/institutions only with the written consent of parents. Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent,” the MHA stated.

“States/UTs will prepare their own SOPs regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools/ institutions based on the SOP to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education… keeping local requirements in view,” the statement read further.

Meanwhile, the students of PhD and post-graduate courses that require laboratory work will be allowed to visit the premises. For other college students, the Department of Higher Education will take a decision soon.

Relaxing the limits on gatherings, the MHA said: “Now State/UT Governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 persons outside Containment Zones, after 15th October 2020.”

However, the guidelines still prescribe the use of masks and social distancing to prevent the COVID-19 infection.