Uniforms, mid-day meals unlikely when schools reopen in Kerala on Nov 1

A municipal worker sanitizing the classrooms of Govt Boys HSS, Aluva, ahead of the higher secondary exams. Photo: Josekutty Panackal

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is chalking out the nitty-gritty of the scheduled reopening of schools on November 1, nearly one-and-a-half years after they were shut owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the proposals school uniforms will not be made mandatory when classes resume in a limited way subject to adherence to safety protocols.

Mid-day meals are unlikely to be distributed, at least, during the first stage of reopening. Instead, lunch allowance would be given to the needy students.

Students will not be allowed to take lunch at schools. This is done to avoid sharing of food by students. The hotels situated next to schools will be barred from allowing students to take lunch from there.

Students having any kind of mild symptoms of any disease would not be allowed to sit in the classroom. The differently abled students need not attend offline classes during the first stage.

Guidelines being framed

According to Education Minister V Sivankutty, the final guidelines on the school reopening would be released in five days.

The practical models from the foreign countries where schools have been reopened will be included in the guidelines. The guidelines are being prepared by taking into account the views of the experts in various fields and international agencies like the UNICEF.

Prior to the school reopening, meetings will be held at ministerial, district and school levels with all stakeholders. The consent of parents to send their wards to schools would be sought. Awareness programmes for parents would also be conducted online.

Facilities to check oxygen and temperature levels of students would be introduced in schools. Soap and water will be kept in front of each classroom. Only two students will be allowed to sit on one bench. Students will not be allowed to gather in groups outside the classrooms.

A teacher would be made in-charge of a minimum 12 students.

Only two students will be allowed to sit in autorickshaws ferrying students to schools. The discussions in this regard would be held with transport unions. An arrangement would be worked out with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for ensuring proper travel facility for students.

As most of the school buses are in a bad condition after months of disuse efforts to make them roadworthy will be initiated. Steps would be taken to give fitness certificates to them after repair. The help of voluntary organisations would be solicited to clean the school premises and wash rooms ahead of the school reopening.

Move on to fill the post of headmasters

Steps would be taken to fill vacancies of headmasters in schools in Alappuzha with immediate effect, Education Minister announced.

While admitting that there was a backlog in the promotion of teachers as headmasters in schools, he blamed the teachers themselves for such a scenario.

He pointed out that almost 5,000 cases existing in the High Court of Kerala dealt with the promotion of teachers.

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