Schools may reopen from September 21 for classes 9-12: Centre

Schools may reopen from September 21 for classes 9-12: Centre
A student wearing a mask as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus. Image courtesy: IANS

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday issued a set of guidelines to see schools reopen from September 21.

Only students of class 9-12 are permitted to attend classes in person. The ministry has made it clear that to attend school now is voluntary. Even then, written consent from the student's parents/guardian is mandatory.

Schools will remain closed for the other grades and online learning will be encouraged, a statement from the ministry read.

The guidelines detail several safety measures that students, teachers and all employees at the school must adhere to during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

• Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.

• Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.

• Frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty.

• Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible.

• Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves the strict practise of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

• Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest.

• Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

• Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App may be advised wherever feasible.

Only schools outside containment zones can reopen. Students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the school.

Prior to resumption of activities, all work areas intended for teaching/demonstrations etc., including laboratories, other common utility areas will be sanitized. Instead of biometric attendance, schools are urged to make alternate arrangements for contactless attendance.

Assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding are strictly prohibited. Swimming pools too shall remain closed.

The guidelines also ask that schools ensure regular counselling for the emotional wellbeing of students and teachers.

Following a phase-wise unlocking of activities, the Centre has also given consent to the resumption of activities in skill or entrepreneurship training institutions and post graduate studies in technical & professional programs requiring laboratory and experimental work. 

Schools across the country had migrated to an online learning model after the government instructed all institutions remain shut in order to curb the spread of the virus.

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