According to officials, the vacations for primary classes in schools in Kashmir valley could start as early as the end of this week
In a significant development, the divisional administration in Kashmir is considering announcing early winter vacations for kindergarten and primary classes.
Talking to Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri emphasised the need for comprehensive planning, considering various aspects within an academic session. “Due to the changing weather, the government is contemplating an early announcement of winter vacations for which the formal announcement will be made in a day or two,” he said.
However, he said that the vacation would be announced in a phased manner. “We won’t declare a holiday for all classes at once. Initially, it will be for primary classes, then middle-level classes, followed by senior secondary classes,” he said. This phased approach aims to minimise disruptions at different levels of education.
The Divisional Commissioner said that the intention was to continue primary classes only for the current week. “We have submitted a proposal to the Administrative Department after careful consideration of all aspects,” he said.
Bidhuri said that the plan was to call students of primary classes only for this week, noting that clarity would come after the formal announcement in a day or two.
About addressing the concerns regarding varying facilities in schools, Bidhuri acknowledged the disparity in heating arrangements. “While declaring a vacation is easy for us, we should ensure that students’ academic session is not affected. Balancing both aspects is essential,” he said.
The parents are voicing their grievances asserting that the exposure to frigid weather during morning commutes on school buses was contributing to a health crisis.
Amidst chilling temperatures and foggy mornings in Kashmir, a surge in respiratory infections and mumps among school children has triggered widespread concerns as well.
The medical experts have also stated that the prevailing cold weather was causing respiratory epithelium, increasing susceptibility to various viral infections.
Given the escalating health crisis, doctors are recommending the closure of schools for kindergarten and primary-level students.
Also, the Meteorological Department (MeT) has issued an advisory urging school-going children and elderly individuals to wear masks in the morning due to dust, pollution, and foggy weather.
The abrupt onset of cold weather in Kashmir has made existing school problems worse as children are experiencing discomfort due to inadequate infrastructure in schools amid the prevailing cold period.
Principal Secretary School Education Department (SED), Alok Kumar earlier told that the winter vacation would be announced shortly. “It is being considered. The vacation for primary and lower classes is being considered. The order will be issued shortly,” Kumar said.
The decision is being considered amid the persistent demand for early announcement of winter vacation for lower classes owing to the abrupt onset of cold weather in Kashmir.
A MeT update said the lowest temperature was recorded at Konibal in south Kashmir, at -4.4°C. It was -3.3°C at popular tourist destination Pahalgam. In north Kashmir’s Kupwara, the minimum temperature was -1.4°C and it was 0.6°C in Gulmarg.