TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: The Health Ministry has released protocols for the reopening of schools. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, informed about the guidelines via his Twitter handle, on Sunday. Union Health Ministry released Standard Operating Procedures for different educational activities like Educational and Skill training centers. Besides, Higher Education Institutes have received the nod for practical based subjects and technical courses requiring laboratories.
“The staggering of classroom activities, with separate time slots, to allow adequate physical distancing and disinfection of classroom premises. Academic scheduling to have an intermix of regular classroom teaching and online assessment. Teaching faculty to ensure that they and students ear masks throughout teaching activities. Sharing of items like laptops, notebook, stationery amongst students is not to be allowed,” stated the guidelines.
The Government has allowed the partial opening of schools for classes 9th to 12th. Students will be able to visit their school, as per their will, to seek help from their teachers, from September 21. This further led the Health Ministry to issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) for a partial reopening of schools on September 8. As directed in the guidelines, the authorities have to ensure proper seating arrangement, maintaining a distance of six feet between benches.
The SOP will have to follow Unlock 4 guidelines of the Ministry of Health from 1 September. The Physical presence of up to 50% of each teaching and non-teaching members, in the schools, were permitted by the Home Ministry. The students will have the option to attend online classes, consult via telephone, from September 21. They may be able to get assistance, from these staff, for all their education-related or other sorts of queries.
As per the guidelines, cleaning and sanitization on a regular basis will be mandatory. Use of 1% sodium hypochlorite for disinfecting regularly touched areas and surfaces like handrails, washrooms, doorknobs, so on will be necessary for every classroom, parking areas, labs and common spaces. The process will have to be carried out both at the beginning of the classes and after the dismissal.
However, visiting schools physically is an option only for those living in containment free zones. Students outside containment zones may have the provision to visit their schools, for teachers’ help or assistance, personally, but with a written and signed consent of their guardians or parents. This is a necessity in such times of crisis.
With the increasing number of cases of COVID-19, on a daily basis, it will be quite challenging to reopen the schools and institutions. Risks of lives will increase especially in remote areas. However, during an uncertain time like this, one cannot ignore the consequences of the pandemic on the education of the country.