Reopening of primary schools in Odisha: Fresh SOP issued

Bhubaneswar: After Odisha Government today announced reopening of schools for Class 1 to  5 students from January 3, the School and Mass Education Department issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the schools.

Classes will be held from 9 am to 12 noon without any break.

Also Read: BREAKING: Odisha primary schools to reopen from Jan 3, 2022

Overall guiding principles:

a) Online/distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged. Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.

b) Online and classroom learning will go in tandem with each other and should continue to share timelines and daily schedules to ensure synchronization.

c) Students may attend schools/institutions in consultation with their parents or guardians. Attendance must not be enforced

d) The District Collector will have the final authority to take decisions in this regard to the time and method of school reopening in exceptional circumstances for all the schools in the district

SOPs for health, hygiene and other safety protocols before opening of schools:  

General guidelines on school opening and attendance of teachers/students/staff

1. Only schools outside the containment zones 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. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, these decisions will be taken by the district Collector. Collector will also direct the relevant school to immediately shut down in case their zone is declared as a containment zone.

2. All work areas, furniture, libraries, laboratories, storage places, water tanks and areas of common use shall be thoroughly sanitized, prior to the resumption.

3. Ensure working Hand Washing Facilities in the schools.

4. Ensure availabilities of key supplies like Thermometer, disinfectants, shops and the availabilities of these essentials should be organized. The Thermometer to be used should be a Calibrated contact less infrared digital thermometer.

5. Sanitization of school transport before they start plying must be ensured.

6. Guidelines issued by the Department of Disinfection of Common Public places should be referred to for suitable follow up.

7. School provided transportation should also be discouraged to reduce risk. Parents must ensure that they take responsibility of the child’s commute to school. Where plying, transport facilities may run at maximum of 50% capacity with adequate sanitization before picking up and after dropping students.

8. High risk staff members with severe ailments or underlying conditions must take extra precaution.

9. No student should be coerced to come to school. Only those parents and students who feel comfortable attending school should do so.

Provisions to be made inside schools:

1. There must be 6 feet distance between students in the revised seating plan. It is advisable to mark the seating that student should occupy. If Benches are used, “one student one Bench norm” may be considered as far as practicable and if it cannot be followed due to non-availability of sufficient benches, then 6 feet distance while seating may be followed strictly.

2. Social distancing should also be maintained in the staff rooms, office area and other places of public interaction.

3. If the school has sufficient space, temporary space or outdoor space can be utilized for conducting classes (in case of pleasant weather) keeping in view the safety and security of the student and following physical distance protocol.

4. Wearing of mask is a must at all time and at all places inside the school.

5. There must be adequate soap (solid/liquid) and running water in all washrooms and toilets. Hand sanitizers etc. for the teachers, students, and staff must be available mandatorily in each classroom. Students should be encouraged to sanitize their hands when entering and leaving classrooms and toilets.

6. Any staff entrusted with cleaning/sweeping duties must be informed and trained about the cleaning/sanitization processes as well as general norms for waste management and disposal.

7. 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. Other posters related to the preventive measures about COVID-19 must also be displayed.

8. A separate isolation room has to be marked in the school and kept ready. This room may be used in case any student or staff develops Covid symptoms.

9. The Composite School Grant under SS may be used for purchase of all relevant cleaning and sanitization material

Sensitization of teachers, parents, staff, and members of School Management Committee (SMC)

1. Before the opening of the school, a meeting of al SMC/SMDC members and any other parents who desire to attend the meeting shall be called by the Head of School

2. In this meeting, a detailed discussion on the safety protocols must be held, inputs of all members incorporated, and consent taken from SMCSMDCs. Proceedings of the meeting must be recorded in the relevant register maintained in the school

3. The SMC/SMDC must also be encouraged to walk around the school premises and ensure that all hygiene and safety precautions are there to their satisfaction.

4. All these information should also be shared with the parents community through WhatsApp message or SMS. The message also include dos/don’ts that the parents/students must follow.

5.Written consent should be sought from parents for their child to attend school. Students opting to study from home with the consent of the parents may be allowed to do so.

SOP for health, hygiene and other safety protocols after school reopening:

1. Every school must have a Covid Monitoring Team comprising of 1 teachers & 1 parent member from SMC/SMDC

2.The responsibility of the Monitoring Team will be to ensure health and hygiene within the school This team will come to school 30 mins early and leave 30 mins after school hours to ensure full cleanliness/sanitization in school.

3.Emergency response- Have a clear plan in place for contingencies and take action anytime there is an emergency or risk in school.

In addition, the team will also support the HM with: preparation and implementation of all calendars, schedules and activities in the school. The HM will decide the school schedule, calendar, take decision on academic activities with a key consideration towards ensuring the right balance between learning and safety of students.

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