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Private Schools in Bengaluru Want Students to Pay 'Covid Fees' as Classes Set to Restart

Image for representation (Reuters)

Image for representation (Reuters)

The Centre, in its recent set of standard operating procedures for schools, said that students from class 9 to 12 can return to schools September 21 onwards in a phased manner and on a voluntary basis. However, the school premises, especially the ones that were turned into Covid-19 facilities, need thorough cleaning.

After the Centre’s announcement of reopening educational institutions under Unlock 4, private schools in Bengaluru are mulling to levy an excess ‘COVID fees’ to fund the expenditure for sanitisation and disinfection of their premises. Students across India are set to return to campus from September 21 onwards.

The Centre, in its recent set of standard operating procedures for schools, said that students from class 9 to 12 can return to schools September 21 onwards in a phased manner and on a voluntary basis. However, the school premises, especially the ones that were turned into Covid-19 facilities, need thorough cleaning. Sanitisation of other buildings, setting up markers to ensure social distancing, sanitiser stations at entry points, are among the key guidelines for schools to reopen.

In Bengaluru, private schools say that the task of deep cleaning every few hours adds a huge responsibility on the management, as a result, an added amount will be sought from students as “COVID fees”, thereby raising the current fees, The Print reported.

“We plan to use 70 per cent alcohol wipes and good disinfectants to ensure the safety of our students. The housekeeping budget may go up by 5 per cent, but in the long run, only our children will benefit,” D. Shashi Kumar was quoted as saying. Kumar is the general secretary of Associated Management of English Medium Schools, a private-run body that coordinates management of English-medium primary and secondary unaided schools in Karnataka.

“It is a genuine expenditure, as housekeeping is going to escalate. We would need thermal scanners, disinfectants and necessary infrastructure,” Kumar said, adding that the move will also explain to the parents the expensive affair to ensure children’s safety.

The schools managements claim that the spike in fees would compensate for the continuous sanitisation process as areas/surfaces that are frequented by staff and students such as railings, desks, chairs and equipment have to be constantly disinfected to keep everyone safe.

first published:September 11, 2020, 09:45 IST