The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday, October 27, issued an order to extend the MHA unlock guidelines for reopening of schools and colleges till November end. Now, the School reopening guidelines, released on September 30, will remain in force till November 30. There are no fresh changes in the latest guidelines and all major activities have already been allowed but strict lockdown will continue in containment zones, it has said. The Unlock 5 guidelines which were issued in September for October had stated that for re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, states and Union Territories have been given the flexibility to take a decision to reopen their institutions in a graded manner. Following which some of the states have opened schools after six months gap while many have not reopened yet. State governments and administrations of Union territories have been permitted to make decisions for the re-opening of schools and other educational institutions, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs. These include schools and coaching institutes and state and private universities for research scholars allowing gatherings above the limit of 100. The MHA guidelines also stated that online and distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and will be encouraged. The latest guidelines on unlock has also asked people to exercise extreme caution and follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Jan Aandolan launched earlier this month to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all activities have been gradually opened up in areas outside containment zones. While most activities have been permitted, some involving large gatherings have been allowed with some restrictions and are subject to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding health and safety precautions being followed. As per the revised MHA guidelines, academic and other similar congregations in closed spaces will be allowed with a maximum of 50 percent of the hall capacity and subject to a ceiling of 200 persons.