Centre has allowed partial reopening of schools for students of Classes 9 to 12 from September 21 as the process to ease lockdown restrictions continue across the country. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for students of senior classes to attend school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from teachers. The Health Ministry clarified that online classes will continue in the meantime and shall be encouraged. The ministry did not specify when schools will be reopened for students of junior classes.
"Students of class 9th to 12th shall be permitted to visit their school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/guardians. Such visits and teacher - student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner," Health Ministry mentioned in the guidelines.
At least 6 feet of physical distance has to be maintained by all teachers, students and employees coming to school, the ministry cautioned. Use of face masks or coverings, frequent handwashing and use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, respiratory etiquettes, use of Arogya Setu app, prohibition on spitting and self monitoring of health has been listed as generic measures that have to be followed by all going to schools later this month.
The Health Ministry SOP in detail lists the steps that schools need to follow before and after resumption, conduct in workshops, laboratories and other common areas like libraries, canteens, etc., and transport to and from schools. The SOP also lists measures to be followed if any teacher, student or employee develops symptoms associated with COVID-19.
#IndiaFightsCorona— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) September 8, 2020
Health Ministry issues SOP for partial reopening of Schools for students of 9th-12th classes on a voluntary basis, for taking
guidance from their teachers in the context of #COVID19.https://t.co/i1I8pPwXyTpic.twitter.com/6c9datyVOC
Schools were closed across the country as intial coronavirus cases appeared in February and March. While the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed several parts of the economy to reopen after months of lockdown, schools and educational institutions had found no mention in the guidelines for past Unlock phases. Even the board examinations for Class 10 and 12 were affected due to the lockdown.