October 16, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, Punjab: In conformity with the Center’s order to shift back to traditional schooling, the government of Punjab announced the reopening of schools in the state from October 19. On Thursday, Mr Vijay Inder Singla, Education Minister of Punjab informed, the schools are reopening for IX-XIIth grade students. Hence, the authorities must not call students from any other classes. Only those schools lying outside the containment zones have the permission to reopen for three hours a day, he highlighted.
The Information and Public Relations Department of the state reveals that the authorities will take proper safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. According to the statement, the cabinet minister told that the school education department released guidelines supplementing the Standard Operating Procedures laid by the government regarding the reopening of educational institutions. The education department has provided a complete version of the protocols to the school administration and district education officers to ensure smooth and secured implementation of the permission to start physical schooling.
Considering students’ safety as the priority, the government plans to set up a separate committee constituting the education department officials to supervise the proper functioning of these schools. They will strictly examine whether or not these institutions are sticking to the SOPs, as per the education minister.
Agreeing to the MHA’s decision of online platform as the first preference and the relaxation in attendance compulsion, Singla directed that the schools shall prefer online classes and shall not consider attendance as a necessary factor in the view of the pandemic.
“As the schools are already conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. The students will be able to attend the physical classes only with the written consent of parents,” Punjab School Education Minister announced.
The Education Minister directed the parents to ensure the safety of their kids. He said that parents must check whether the kids are wearing masks before going out (to school) and ensure that they don’t exchange them with that of other individuals. He recommended parents to send their kids in full-sleeved clothes to avoid direct contact of the skin to any public surface.
“If the strength of the students is large in the school and social distancing norms are not maintainable, in that case, School Head/ Management may take a decision whether to hold the classes in two shifts or call the students at alternate days, at their own level.”, he elaborated.
Outlining the specifications of MoHFW, he said that the employees and students coming from containment areas must not attend their classes. Further, he suggested pregnant, older and other staffs with any underlying diseases to stay conscious and avoid direct contact with the students by working at the backend.
Talking about the necessary steps that the school authorities need to follow, Singla said that they must disinfect and clean the surfaces within the school premises including transport facilities at regular intervals. Moreover, the schools shall offer basic requirements like soaps, disinfectants, thermometer, etc. They shall also abide by social distancing norms and shall not let kids overcrowd while washing hands or transportation or at the office, staffrooms, hostels and other public spaces. The department instructed the institutions to mark the seats of students with a required distance of 6 feet.
The department, in its statement, instructed the institutions to station SOP based stickers/messages/posters or signboards at necessary places as a reminder for the students and staffs. Organising events with a vast crowd is prohibited. However, conducting assemblies either in classrooms or in other spaces is permissible only under a teacher’s supervision.
Sources: India TV