After a brief reprieve, mercury has started soaring in several parts of the country once again. Keeping this in mind, on Wednesday (May 11), the Ministry of Education issued protective guidelines to schools to tackle the damaging side-effects of heatwave. From advising schools to relax the uniform norms, and restrict outdoor activities to asking them to modify school timings, the MoE issued several guidelines.

Here are the guidelines:

– The guidelines by the Ministry of Education asked the schools to modify timings and reduce the number of school hours each day.
“School hours may start early and get over before noon. The timing may be from 7 am onwards. The number of school hours per day may be reduced. Sports and other outdoor activities which expose students directly to the sunlight may be appropriately adjusted in the early morning.

– “School assembly should be conducted in a covered area or in classrooms with reduced timing. Similar care may be taken during dispersal after school is over,” the guidelines said.

– School buses or vans should not be overcrowded and should be parked in a shaded area. “It should not carry students more than the seating capacity. Drinking water and a first aid kit should be available on the bus. Students coming to school on foot or bicycle should be advised to keep their heads covered. Parents should be sensitised to pick up the students themselves, to the extent possible, to avoid public transport and minimise their time out in the sun. School bus or van may be parked in a shaded area,” it said.

– The guidelines stated that schools should ensure that all fans are functional and that all classrooms are properly ventilated. “Availability of power back-up may be arranged, if possible. Curtains, blinds, newspapers, etc. may be used to stop the sunlight from entering directly the classrooms. If any local traditional practices are being followed by the school to keep the surroundings cool such as ‘khus’ curtains, bamboo/jute chiks, they may be continued.

– “Heat can spoil food therefore hot-cooked meals under PM POSHAN must be served hot and fresh. In-charge teacher may check the food before serving. Children carrying lunch boxes may be advised not to carry food that can turn stale quickly. Canteens in schools should ensure that fresh and healthy food is served. Children may be advised to have light food during lunchtime,” the guidelines said.

– The ministry also said that schools may relax norms about uniforms and canvas shoes may be allowed instead of leather ones. “Students may be allowed to wear loose and light coloured cotton material dress. Schools may relax norms regarding uniforms such as neckties. Canvas shoes may be allowed instead of leather ones. Students may be advised to preferably wear a full-sleeve shirt,” it said.