TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: Concerning its order to reopen schools from October 15, the Ministry of Education released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for a safe and secure transition from online to the offline platform, on Monday. These regulations include consideration regarding attendance, no assessment for a maximum of three weeks, proper and timely sanitization and cleaning of the premises.
“Schools must arrange and implement for thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, furniture, equipment, stationery, storage places, water tanks, kitchens, canteen, washroom, laboratories, libraries, on the school campus and ensure airflow in indoor space,” the ministry stated in its set of rules.
“There shall be no assessment up to 2-3 weeks of school reopening and use of ICT and online learning shall continue to be encouraged,” the ministry said.
The Ministry directed to ensure a well-ordered shift from the “home-based schooling” amid COVID lockdown to the conventional model of schooling. Further, it asked the states and union territories to set up and release their guidelines for the safety and health of students and staffs as a precondition for their localities.
“Schools may be encouraged to make their own SOPs based on the guidelines issued by states and UTs, keeping in view the safety and physical or social distancing norms, and ensuring that the notices, posters, messages, communication to parents in this regard are prominently displayed and disseminated,” it added.
It further stated, “Schools can implement re-adjusted school calendar and redesigned Annual Curriculum Plan (ACP), remedial classes or conduct back to school campaign among other steps.”
Besides the adjustable attendance system, the Ministry also recommended the institutions to follow sick leave customs.
“Flexible attendance and sick leave policies may be developed and implemented to encourage students and staff to stay at home when sick. Students may attend schools only with the written consent of parents. Students may opt for online classes rather than physically attend school.”
The government implemented a nationwide lockdown since the outbreak of Coronavirus. As a result, the educational institutions were shut down on March 16 to avoid the transmission of the virus. In the past two or three months (since June 8), the country approached towards the process of “Unlock” through various phases. The schools and universities continue to remain closed despite the upliftment of restrictions from other fields.
In a recent order passed by the government, it gave its consent for the reopening of schools from October 15 under Unlock 5.0. Even the colleges, universities and other educational institutions received a go-ahead to reopen, given they do not fall under containment areas. The decision concerning the reopening of these educational institutions, however, lies in the hands of states and union territories.