Kolkata: The West Bengal School Education Department is actively considering the idea of extending the suspension of academic activities in state-run and aided educational institutions from July 31 due to the COVID-19 crisis, a senior official said on Tuesday.

All the schools in the state are closed till July 31 due to the pandemic.

Asked if the department has received any letter from Union HRD Ministry about the possible opening of schools by August, September or October, the official said the department has decided in consultation with experts and teachers that the primary-secondary-higher secondary educational institutions cannot open amid the pandemic.

"We will shortly issue a notification about the period of extension in this regard. We are not sure if the schools can open by September given the present pandemic situation," he said.

Asked about MHRD letter dated July 17 to the states seeking their views on reopening of schools, the official said the state will respond at the appropriate time.

"We will certainly respond at an appropriate time. But the State will take the final call on this matter," he said.

West Bengal Education minister Partha Chatterjee a few days ago had said that the state government will not do anything that would compromise the safety of students and staff in the wake of spike in COVID-19 cases.

All schools in the state have been closed since March 17.

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