Schools across Tamil Nadu reopened for classes 10 and 12 on Tuesday after a gap of nearly ten months, with a host of COVID-19 safety norms in place.
The State government had issued a detailed SoP which covered various health, hygiene and safety aspects on campus, and officials from the School Education Department had briefed institutions to strictly follow them. In many schools on Tuesday, students of classes 10 and 12 had been given staggered entry timings to avoid crowding.
At the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School in Ashok Nagar, students were checked using a thermal scanner at the entrance and were given hand sanitisers. “We have prepared a seating plan and student roll numbers have been written on desks to ensure that they maintain physical distancing norms. The Health Department has also provided us with vitamin and zinc tablets which will be given soon to the students,” said R.C. Saraswathi, school headmistress.
School Education Director S. Kannappan visited the campus on Tuesday morning to inspect the measures in place. He said that the staff and students in all schools will have to wear masks at all times on campus. “We have also asked teachers to reach out to the students and offer guidance or put them in touch with counsellors if they need any psychological support,” he added.
The Department had announced a reduced syllabus for the students on Sunday, and teachers are expected to slowly ease the students into being back on campus before they begin lessons.
Ruby Puthotta, headmistress, Lady Sivaswamy Ayyar Girls Higher Secondary School, said that the class 10 and 12 students would have breaks during the day scheduled at different times. “The school working hours too, will differ, so that students can enter and exit campuses in a staggered way. The faculty members have spoken to the students in detail about the safety measures to be followed as well as to guide them if they need anything,” she added.
Since there are only the students of classes 10 and 12 on campus at the moment, teachers handling other classes are pitching in to enforce physical distancing norms and implementing safety measures.
Tamil Yaazhini, a class 12 computer science group student from the city said that while they have been having online classes since the lockdown, it was good to be back on campus. “For subjects such as Maths and computer science in particular, it is useful to meet our teachers and learn in a physical classroom environment in the run up to the board exams,” she said.