By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, August 26, 2020: All educational institutions in Odisha will remain closed till the end of Durga Puja vacation in view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made by chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday after reviewing the situation due to COVID-19 in the state.

Educational institutions across the state have been closed since March 17, two days after the first coronavirus case was reported in the state.

The five-day Durga Puja festival is scheduled to be held between October 22 and October 26.

Patnaik said the decision has been taken keeping in view the concerns expressed by students and parents, who have been expressing fears and apprehension in the minds of students and their guardians about the prevailing situation.

Officials in the health and family welfare department said that as per a projection in the background of the prevailing situation, the states infection load is likely to reach 1.02 lakh with the number of active cases at 32,212 by August end.

The School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said the government has meanwhile started online classes for students and conceded that 22 lakh of the total 60 lakh students in government and government aided schools can avail of the facility due to lack of proper internet connections. The higher education department has started online classes for college and university students as well.

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