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Government issues SOPs for partial reopening of schools from Sept 21


GUWAHATI: The government of India on Tuesday announced standard operating procedures (SOPs) for partial reopening of schools for students of classes 9-12 from September 21.

Union Minister for health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan said, “Government of India is following a phase-wise unlocking of activities. In days to come, this would also involve partial resumption of activities in schools for students of Classes 9th to 12th on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers.”

In Unlock 4 guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that students from class 9-12 can visit schools from September 21 for taking teachers’ guidance with parents’ consent.

Earlier, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry issued SOPs for partial resumption of teaching activities in schools for students of Classes 9 to 12, on a voluntary basis, from September 21.

According to the SOPs, the precautionary measures include teachers, employees and students ensuring physical distancing of at least six feet, use of face covers, frequent hand-washing, following respiratory etiquette, self-monitoring of health, and not spitting.

Schools have been asked to specifically ensure that online or distance learning should continue to be permitted and encouraged and that students of Classes 9 to 12 should be permitted to visit their school on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.

“This will be subject to written consent of their parents or guardians. Such visits and teacher-student interaction must be organised in a staggered manner,” the SOP stressed.

Only the schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to open. Further, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend. Students, teachers and employees will also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.

Prior to resumption of activities, all work areas intended for teaching or demonstrations etc, including laboratories, other common utility areas shall be sanitised with one per cent sodium hypochlorite solution, with particular attention to frequently-touched surfaces.

Schools that were used as quarantine centres will be properly sanitised and deep cleaned before partial functioning is resumed. The teaching and non-teaching employees concerned, up to 50 per cent of the strength, may be called to schools for online teaching or tele-counselling and related work.

Instead of biometric attendance, alternate arrangements for contactless attendance shall be made by the school administration.

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 to teachers, students, employees to contact in case of any emergency.

For air-conditioning or ventilation, the guidelines of thee CPWD shall be followed, providing that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross-ventilation should be adequate.

Similarly, SOPs have also been issued for skill or entrepreneurship training institutions, higher educational institutions conducting doctoral courses and postgraduate studies in technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory and experimental work.