Schools reopening partially: As the country has entered its fourth phase of unlocking and partial school activities for students from class 9 to class 12 will start from September 21 on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a fresh set of standard operating procedure for reopening of schools.

 

SOP outlines various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken when schools are permitting students (for 9th to 12th class) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all (teachers, employees and students) in these places at all times.

Here’s a look at the  new guidelines:

Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.

Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.

Frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty.Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible.

Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest.

Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App may be advised wherever feasible.

All schools (with classes IX to XII) shall specifically ensure the following arrangements

  • Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
  • Students of class 9th to 12th shall be permitted to visit their school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/guardians. Such visits and teacher – student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner.
  • School outside the containment zones only shall be allowed to open. Further, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the school. Students, teachers and employees shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.
  • Prior to resumption of activities, all work areas intended for teaching/demonstrations etc, including laboratories, other common utility areas shall be sanitized with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution, with particular attention to frequently touched surfaces.
  • Schools that were used as quarantine centres will be properly sanitized and deep cleaned before partial functioning is resumed. Guidelines issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for disinfection of common public places including offices may be referred to in this regard.
  • The concerned teaching and non-teaching employees (up to 50 % of the strength) may be called to schools for online teaching/tele-counselling and related work.
  • Students from class 9th to 12th will have the option of attending the classes remotely/virtually or physically only on a voluntary basis for guidance from their teachers subject to written permission of parent / guardian.
  • Instead of biometric attendance alternate arrangements for contactless attendance shall be made by the school administration.
  • At all times, the teachers and students shall maintain a physical distancing of 6 feet apart, wherever feasible. Scheduling of activities and seating plan shall be made accordingly.
  • Ensure hand washing facilities along with provision of soap.
  • For ensuring queue management, inside and outside the premises, specific markings on the floor with a gap of 6 feet may be made. Similarly, physical distancing shall also be maintained in staff rooms, office areas (including reception area), and other places (mess, libraries, cafeterias, etc.)
  • Weather permitting, outdoor spaces may be utilized for conducting teacher student interactions, keeping in view the safety and security of students and physical distancing protocols.
  • Assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding are strictly prohibited.
  • The school should display State helpline numbers and also numbers of local health authorities etc. to teachers /students / employees to contact in case of any emergency.
  • For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degree c. relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.
  • Lockers of students will remain in use, as long as physical distancing and regular disinfection is maintained.
  • Gymnasiums shall follow MoHFW guidelines
  • Swimming Pool (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
  • Appropriate back-up stock of personal protection items like face covers/masks, visors, hand sanitizers etc. shall be made available by management to the teachers and employee.
  • Provide an adequate supply of thermal guns, alcohol wipes or 1% sodium hypochlorite solutions and disposable paper towels, soap, IEC materials on COVID.
  • Pulse oximeter to check oxygen saturation levels of any symptomatic person must be arranged.
  • Ensure availability of sufficient covered dustbins and trash cans
  • Provision for proper disposal of used personal protective items and general waste in accordance with CPCB guidelines
  • Housekeeping employee to be informed & trained about norms for waste management & disposal
  • Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions. Multiple gates/separate gates, if feasible, should be used for entry and exit.
  • Only asymptomatic persons (teachers, employees and students) to be allowed in the premises. If a teacher/employee/student is found to be symptomatic, he/she should be referred to nearest health center.
  • Posters/standees on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.
  •  Proper crowd management in the parking lots, in corridors and in elevators – duly following physical distancing norms shall be organized.
  • Entry of visitors should be strictly regulated/restricted.
  •  Seating arrangement to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc.
  • Staggering of guidance activities to be done, with separate timing slots, to allow for adequate physical distancing and disinfection of classroom premises
  • The teaching faculty will ensure that they themselves and students wear masks throughout the conduct of the teaching/guidance activities.
  • Sharing of items like notebook, pens/pencil, eraser, water bottle etc. amongst students should not be allowed.
  • Cafeteria/mess facility, if any within the premises, shall remain closed.