Education Ministry issues guidelines for reopening of schools

The Ministry asked States and Union Territories to frame their own Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for health and safety precautions.

October 05, 2020 06:59 pm | Updated 08:46 pm IST - New Delhi

Workers clean a classroom of a government school which will be reopened with limited students on October 8, in Puducherry on October 5, 2020.

Workers clean a classroom of a government school which will be reopened with limited students on October 8, in Puducherry on October 5, 2020.

The Ministry of Education on Monday issued detailed guidelines for the reopening of schools after October 15 in a graded manner, in accordance with the Union Home Ministry directions. No student would be forced to attend school without their parents’ consent, said Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.

States/UTs should take the consent of parents/guardians before their child/ward begins attending schools. Students willing to study from home with the consent of the parents may be allowed to do so,” say the guidelines.

Also read: COVID-19 impact: Govt. schools survive, reopening after two-year closure

The Ministry has ordered thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all the areas, furniture and equipment on the campus, and to ensure air flow in the indoor spaces. Schools have to form task teams for emergency care support/response, commodity support, hygiene inspection and allied responsibilities.

“Schools may be encouraged to make their own SOPs based on the guidelines issued by States/UTs for the following, keeping in view the safety and physical/social distancing norms, and ensuring that notices/posters/messages/communication to parents are prominently displayed /disseminated.”

Also read: TN Chief Minister will announce the reopening of schools after discussions with various departments, Minister says

The schools will ensure physical/social distancing while planning seating arrangements and staggered time tables, besides entry/exit timings and points. Functions and events have to be avoided. All the students and staff will be required to wear face cover/mask.

Students, parents, teachers, community members and the hostel staff have to be sensitised on the pandemic-related challenges, based on the guidelines issued by the Ministries of Education, Health and Home.

The schools have to plan the academic calendar changes for all classes, particularly in relation to breaks and exams and ensure that all students have access to prescribed textbooks before the school reopens.

Also read: No right answer: On decision of reopening of schools

They have to ensure availability of full-time trained health care attendant, nurse or doctor and counsellor to take care of the physical and mental health of students. Regular health check-up of students and teachers has to be organised. The schools have to adopt a flexible attendance and sick leave policies and encourage the students and staff to stay at home when sick.

The schools should focus on the most vulnerable students, including those with special needs and those directly affected by death or hospitalisation due to COVID-19 in their family. Directives have been given to ensure nutritional requirements of the children.

Instructions have also been issued on the academic aspects including curriculum, timetables and assessment. They are advisory in nature and the States and the UTs may use them in the manner deemed fit to prepare their own guidelines.

The Ministry has advised making of a comprehensive alternative calendar of activities for the whole year with focus on learning outcomes. A comprehensive academic plan can be prepared as per the orders from the respective Directorate of Education. The plan may follow the Alternative Academic Calendar guideline prepared by the NCERT.

“Reintegration of students into school may be taken on priority after reopening...teachers must polish their skills for integrating ICT in class as far as possible. Training modules may be prepared for the same,” the note said, adding that teachers must discuss with students the clear roadmap of the curriculum, mode of learning and other related issues.

The schools will ensure smooth transition of students from home-based schooling during lockdown to formal schooling.

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