Where Are Schools Open And What Are The SOPs?Page Visited: 11
With the Unlock phase in full swing, a slew of states have allowed schools to start physical classes amid the coronavirus outbreak. These schools will be solely responsible for the safety and hygiene of the students who come into class every day.
Strict standard operating protocols are being followed by the schools to ensure social distancing among students at all times as checked by Moneycontrol on the basis of the conversations with students and parents.
Under the latest unlock guidelines, schools and coaching institutes in India were allowed to reopen in a phased manner from October 15. While the central government gave a go-ahead to start reopening schools, it was left to states/UTs to decide when they would open physical classes.
Here’s a look at the schools’ reopening plans across states and the norms being followed:
Where are schools open?
Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nagaland (partial reopening) and Andhra Pradesh have reopened schools from December onwards. Schools in Punjab had opened in October.
Assam, Kerala and Karnataka will be opening schools from January 1 onwards, and first priority is being given to students between classes 9-12.
However, states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are undecided on when to open schools amid virus fears.
Even in the states where schools have opened, students need to get a written consent from parents stating that they have agreed to send their child to school and that they understand the potential risks.
First preference is being given to students who are giving Class X and Class XII board exams in 2021. The last preference is for students in Classes I to V.
In states like Haryana and Andhra Pradesh where schools suddenly saw a spurt in cases, some classrooms are being shut for sanitation and e-classes are being conducted. It is not mandatory for any school to compulsory resume regular classes.
What are the rules to be followed?
While individual state governments have given dates to reopen schools, the decision to conduct physical classes has been left to individual schools. There are also instances of school teachers going back to their native towns leading to staff shortage for physical classes.
Across schools, parents/guardians can decide when to send their child to school. The number of hours that the student spends in class can also be pre-decided.
Social distancing will be maintained at all times inside classrooms in schools. There will be a six-feet distance between two students. There will also be clear markings inside the classroom as to which spaces a student can occupy.
The education ministry has said that if there are single-seater desks, simply providing space between the desks in the classrooms to maintain physical/social distancing of 6 feet will be effective. If benches are used, only one child will be allowed per bench.
Who is responsible for the child’s health?
Parents consenting to send the child to school are responsible for the health of the child during travel to school by public transport or private vehicles.
At the time of entry, thermal scanners in schools will be checking for any anomalies in temperature. Across schools, children with temperature above 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit won’t be allowed into the school premises and will be immediately sent back home after informing the authorities.
For school students who have come from other cities to stay at hostels, temporary partitions will be erected to separate the boarders. These students will also be monitored for Coronavirus-symptoms like fever, cough and loss of smell/taste for the first 14 days.
Not all hostel students will be allowed to come back at the same time. Initial preference for calling students to join back hostels may be given to students who do not have any support at home and also no facility for online education. Only asymptomatic students will be allowed to come back.
Who will monitor mandatory masks inside classes?
The school authorities are responsible for monitoring use of masks mandatorily at all times inside the school. This includes the classroom, canteen and playground. Special attendants inside washrooms will monitor children inside toilets for proper washing of hands and usage of masks.
In case the mask gets wet, the schools will have to keep a supply of fresh face masks and also provide gloves and hand sanitisers. School bags for students of lower primary classes (I to V) would be discouraged and learning material will be kept in the classroom.
Schools are also being encouraged to hire additional administrative personnel (one per classroom) to monitor students during games period and lunch breaks.