Unlock 4: Schools to resume partially from Sept 21, health ministry releases guidelines
Schools have been advised to call only 50 per cent of the total staff for online teaching and tele-counselling related work
As private and public schools across the country gear up to resume classes for students of standards 9th to 12th on a voluntary basis from September 21, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has released guidelines on Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which is mandatory for all schools to follow.
The ministry has made it mandatory for all the people concerned to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet and has also made it compulsory for all to use face masks.
A statement released by the ministry said, “The generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all (teachers, employees and students) in these places at all times.”
Schools have been advised to call only 50 per cent of the total staff for online teaching and tele-counselling related work. Teachers and students residing in containment zones have been advised not to attend the school. Students from classes 9th to 12th have been advised to attend remotely, virtually or physically only after the written consent from their parents.
However, the ministry has also advised the schools to continue and encourage online or distance learning.
According to the SOPs, assemblies, sports and events have been prohibited inside the vicinity as it can lead to overcrowding. The schools have been advised to display state helpline numbers and numbers of local health authorities for perusal of students, teachers and other staff concerned.
In addition to that, the government has advised all schools to avoid calling older employees, pregnant employees or people with chronic diseases as they are more prone to the adverse effects of COVID-19.
Everyone has been advised to practice personal hygiene such as washing hands frequently, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and covering of mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App has also been advised wherever feasible.
It has been made mandatory for all schools to install thermal screening units at entrances and hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrances and exits. Only asymptomatic people including students and teachers have been allowed to enter the premises. Apart from that, entry of any visitor is also prohibited.
Schools have been advised to plan seating arrangements ensuring a distance of six feet between chairs and desks. The ministry has also advised the schools to allocate different time slots to the students and teachers according to subjects and syllabus.
In case of any medical emergency, schools have been advised to isolate the sick person and inform the nearest medical facility. The local health authorities will be doing a corona test of the sick person. The vicinity will have to be cleaned and disinfected in case the person is found positive.
Apart from that, schools have been advised to use disinfectants in washrooms, classrooms, lobbies, corridors, parking lots and other publicly used areas.
The central government, in the last week of August, had released guidelines related to Unlock-4 which began on September 1. As part of Unlock-4, schools were allowed to resume classes for standards 9th to 12th on a voluntary basis from September 21.