28 October 2020.
TED NewsDesk, New Delhi: Unlock 6 guidelines have been rolled out. The Home Ministry, in its latest directives for another set of unlocking, made no new changes to the existing Unlock 5 guidelines and said they would continue to be implemented in November. A strict lockdown will, however, be observed in containment areas.
With respect to schools and colleges reopening, the following points were made:
1. For the reopening of schools and other educational institutions, states and UTs have been given an upper hand to decide whether to resume classes or not.
2. Online learning has been encouraged to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Students will have the option of not going to school and continue distance learning.
3. However, if a student decides to go to school, a written consent of parents or guardians will be mandatory.
4. States and Union Territories will need to prepare their SOPs in line with the Centre’s Unlock 5 guidelines, and in accordance with the ground situation in their respective units.
5. Higher institutions can reopen only for PhD and PG students in Science and technology streams that need experimental or lab work.
6. Attendance will entirely depend on parental consent and cannot be enforced by schools.
7. Schools will have to alter seating plans for students to ensure physical distancing and have fixed entry and exit timings and timetables for different groups of students.
8. Physical distancing must be maintained at schools and students and teachers must wear face masks at all times.
9. Schools are mandated to ensure proper cleaning and sanitisation of all parts of the school, provision for hand wash and disinfection, seating plan, safe transport plan, staggering of time table and classes, precaution at entry and exit points.
With these safeguards in place, one hopes the sixth phase of the Unlock will be executed successfully. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the pandemic is not over, and these precautions still need to be followed to the core. Only then will the spread of COVID-19 will be contained.