New rules for reopening of schools; parents’ consent, flexibility of attendance
New Delhi: The states are now free to decide on reopening of schools after October 15 given the current Covid-19 pandemic. In view of this, the Ministry of Education has prepared Standard Operating Procedures for the reopening of schools.
The SOPs are on health, cleanliness and safety while emphasis has also been given to teaching and learning keeping in mind social distancing.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, “I hope the states will follow the SOPs. No student will be forced to come to school.”
The Ministry of Education issued the SOPs saying, “Before the schools are opened, every part of the school has to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. Hand washing and disinfection have to be done. From making the children’s seating plan to the safe transport plan and classrooms, emphasis has also been laid on the provision of time-gap between all arrangements for security at the entry and exit points and the provision of safe living in hostels.”
The SOPs include maintaining six feet gap for social distancing. Everyone will have to wear masks at all times in areas involving classes, laboratories and sports. Frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette have also been emphasised.
Children will not be able to go to school without the written permission of their parents. According to the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, SOPs also include the flexibility of attendance. If students want, they can opt for online classes instead of going to school.
There are many things related to the precautions to be taken for preparing and serving midday meals.
Schools have been asked to follow the alternative academic calendar of NCERT. During the evaluation, emphasis has been laid on adopting different formats for learning-based assessment instead of pen and paper tests.
No immediate evaluation will be allowed until 2 to 3 weeks after the schools reopen. Schools have been directed to promote online education. Guidelines related to mental health of students are also given in the SOPs.
The Union Ministry of Education said, “The SOPs also enumerate the roles and responsibilities of education departments, heads of schools, teachers and family members in states and Union territories. Based on UNICEF’s guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a check list has also been included in the SOPs for a safe environment in schools.”
In view of the current pandemic situation, the Kejriwal government in Delhi has decided to keep all schools closed till October 31.