The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that schools can be partially opened from September 21 for students in Class 9-12 on a voluntary basis amid an unabated rise in Covid-19 infections. In the new set up, the students will have to take consent from parents or their guardians while social distancing will be ensured at all times in the school premises.
Here’s all you need to know
Are schools reopening for all students?
No, schools are being reopened only for all students of Class 9-12 from September 21. However, this is on a voluntary basis and no student can be forced to resume classes. Meanwhile, online sessions would continue as usual and it is only special sessions with teachers that will be allowed.
Will social distancing be compromised amidst COVID-19?
Schools administration will have to ensure that there is a six-feet distance followed at all times. And everyone will have to wear face covers or masks all the time. Further, students and teachers also have to frequently wash hands with soap even when hands are not visibly dirty. MHA has said that the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers can also be used wherever feasible. However, basic etiquettes of covering the mouth while coughing/sneezing has to be followed and the government has also mentioned that the installation and use of the Aarogya Setu App will be advised.
How will schools prepare?
As per the guidelines, only schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to open. While students and teachers living in the containment zones will not be allowed to attend the classes. Prior to resumption of activities, all work areas intended for teaching including laboratories, other common utility areas have to be sanitised with 1 percent sodium hypochlorite solution, with particular attention to frequently touched surfaces.
How will schools manage students’ entry and exit? Can't they clear doubts outside the class?
The schools will ensure queue management- inside and outside the premises. There will be specific markings on the floor with a gap of six feet and physical distancing will also be maintained in staff rooms, office areas, and other places. If the weather is conducive, schools can use the outdoor spaces for conducting teacher-student interactions.
Will all activities be open for students attending school?
Assemblies, sports, and events that can lead to overcrowding are strictly prohibited. Similarly, the use of swimming pools, mess, and cafeterias will be prohibited. But, lockers of students will remain in use, as long as physical distancing and regular disinfection is maintained. Sharing of notebooks, pen, eraser and other stationery will not be allowed.
How will school authorities manage time slots for students?
The guidelines state that guidance activities have to be done, with separate timing slots, keeping physical distancing and disinfection of classroom premises in my mind. While a maximum capacity will be allowed for laboratory and other training activities.