With the reporting of Covid-19 infections in some schools, the School and Mass Education department has formed a special cell to monitor the cases in the schools. The Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) has issued an order according to which the Covid monitoring cell has been constituted in the office of the State project director (SPD), OSEPA with the command control centre.
After reviewing the situation, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the educational institutions would be held responsible if reports of negligence come to the fore. He had directed the local administration to form special teams to inspect the educational institutions regularly.
The officials engaged in the cell will collect the daily attendance of classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 and monitor various Covid-19 related incidents of the districts and submit reports on a daily basis to SPD, OSEPA. The government has also asked all the District Education Officers (DEOs) to constitute a Covid-19 monitoring cell at the district level as soon as possible and appoint a senior officer as Covid compliance officer.
The officers will ensure implementation of the Covid protocol in the schools and collect daily attendance of the students and submit it to the OSEPA on a daily basis. About 80 per cent of the student are going to class in govt schools and 100 per cent in private schools. It has been directed to all the school authorities to follow guidelines strictly and upload them online.
Samir Dash, School and Mass Education Minister said, “The special squad will do a surprise visit to any institution. Teachers and students will not be allowed to attend school if symptoms such as colds and coughs appear. The BRCC and the CRCC will monitor the school. Online lessons will continue. We will monitor it strictly. "
Meanwhile, the School and Mass Education dept issued a fresh SOP for the functioning of schools. In a letter to all DEOs, Sahu said the teachers will have to ensure that students coming to the schools must wear masks. In case, any student has come to a school without a mask, the school administration should not allow the student to enter the premises. At the entry point, thermal screening and hand sanitisation of all the students must be ensured, he said.
Sahu asked the officials to ensure social distancing inside the classrooms and not to allow any student, teacher, non-teaching staff who are found to have mild symptoms like cold, sneezing, and fever.
Arati Rout, Joint Director, OSEPA said, “As per govt guidelines we have constituted OSEPA monitoring cell. We will bring the report from all institutions and regularly and upload it."
Notably, Covid-19 cases have been rising amongt 0-18-year-olds. As per data, it was 9.38 per cent in the month of April, 9.98 per cent in May, 11.4 per cent in June, 11.49 per cent in July, 11.90 per cent in August, and 15.98 per cent in September 2021. Despite all precautionary measures, the rising of positive cases in the educational campuses has become a headache for the state govt. If the situation will rise the offline classes are likely to be suspended.