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Fact Check: Did MHA permit all the states to open schools?

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The news reported by India News claiming that schools are to be reopened is completely false.

The news channel India News had broadcasted a Breaking News which reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) permitted all the states to open schools. This particular news led to people, especially parents being concerned as the COVID-19 situation is escalating, and opening the schools is unsafe. 

This news was broadcasted by Hindi News channel 'India News' on May 20. You can watch the relevant part at 6:00:00 time stamp. The channel ran breaking news that the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote a letter to the states and union territories, in which strict examination guidelines were allowed to conduct 10th and 12th examinations. The report also added that the Ministry has also given permission to reopen all schools.

Following this broadcast, a screenshot of this news report became viral on social with a headline "Ministry of Home Affairs has given permission to reopen all school."

Fact Check

Soon after this news was reported, the Spokesperson of the MHA took social media to fact-check this news and confirmed it to be false. It was confirmed that no such decision has been taken by the MHA and the schools are still prohibited to be open in the country.

In our investigation, it turned out that on May 20, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla sent a letter to  Chief Secretaries of all states informing about the government’s decision to allow holding of the board exams for students of Class 10 and Class 12 under certain conditions. 

Home Minister Amit Shah took to twitter and informed about this decision. He wrote, "Taking into consideration the academic interest of large number of students, it has been decided to grant exemption from the lockdown measures to conduct Board examination for classes 10th & 12th, with few conditions like social distancing, face mask etc, for their safety." The notice had no mention of "permission to reopen schools."

This is not the first time that such false news has been circulated on news platforms and social media. Earlier this month, news spread that schools were planning on reopening and board exams are planning on being conducted in Punjab. This news was fact-checked by Murad Raas, the Education Minister of Punjab who clearly stated that the lives of children and teachers are the top priority and thus, confirmed that schools are not to be opened anytime soon. He also said that any news which does not come from him is fake and urged people not to believe them.

In conclusion, the news reported by India News claiming that schools are to be reopened is completely false. Several netizens have also complained about how these types of fake news affect a lot of people. They also urged for proper and legal action to be taken against the fake news propagators. 

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