FAQ: What SOPs to Follow When Schools Reopen for Classes 9-12?

What should schools and students keep in mind? Here’s all you need to know.

Published
Education
4 min read
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As indicated in the ‘Unlock 4 guidelines, the Centre is looking to partially reopen schools for Classes 9-12 on a trial basis from 21 September.

Staggered timings, regular sanitisation and compulsory masks will be followed as students return to school after a gap of almost seven months. They will, however, have to take consent from parents before they resume their visit to schools.

So, what are the SOPs issued by the Centre? What should schools and students keep in mind? Here’s all you need to know.

Does this mean all schools must reopen for Classes 9 to 12?

No, the Centre has allowed only partial resumption of activities in schools for students of Classes 9 to 12 on a voluntary basis. This will be decided in consultation with their teachers.

But is it mandatory for all students to attend school from 21 September?

No. Students of Classes 9 to 12 shall be permitted to visit their school on a 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 organised in a staggered manner. Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students and regular class activity till 30 September.

Is there a restriction on the timings of such interactions?

The Centre has not issued clarity on this. Watch this space for more.

Can state governments decide to not allow schools to reopen even partially from 21 September?

Yes. The state governments can decide whether they want to allow the partial reopening of schools. States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana have already issues statements confirming that they will be reopening from 21 September for Classes 9 to 12.

Does this mean online classes will be discontinued?

No, since these meetings between students and teachers are voluntary, online classes will be continue to be encouraged.

Who will be allowed entry into the schools?

  • Only asymptomatic persons (teachers, employees and students) will be allowed in the premises
  • High-risk employees and pregnant women should avoid direct contact with students
  • Entry of visitors should be strictly restricted

What about schools in containment zones & those used as quarantine centres?

  • Schools in containment zones will not be allowed to reopen
  • Those schools that were used as quarantine centres should be deep cleaned and sanitised before partial functioning is resumed

What’s allowed within school premises?

  • Weather permitting, outdoor spaces may be utilised for conducting teacher student interactions
  • All air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius
  • Assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding are strictly prohibited
  • Gymnasiums shall follow MoHFW guidelines
  • Swimming Pool (wherever applicable) shall remain closed
  • Cafeteria/mess facility, if any within the premises, shall remain closed
  • For practical activities in laboratories maximum capacity per session based on redesigned spaces, may be planned and scheduled accordingly

What precautions should be followed at the time of entry and exit?

  • Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions
  • Multiple gates for entry and exit of students
  • Proper crowd management in the parking lots, in corridors and in elevators – duly following physical distancing norms shall be organised

How to ensure physical distancing is followed within class rooms?

  • Seating arrangement to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc.
  • Staggering of guidance activities to be done, with separate timing slots, to allow for adequate physical distancing and disinfection of classroom premises
  • The teaching faculty will ensure that they themselves and students wear masks throughout the conduct of the teaching/guidance activities.
  • Sharing of items like notebook, pens/pencil, eraser, water bottle etc among students should not be allowed

What are the other generic precautions that need to be followed?

  • 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 etiquette to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly
  • Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest.
  • Spitting shall be strictly prohibited
  • Daily cleaning of the floors shall be taken up
  • Provision of soap in toilets and hand sanitizers in other common areas in sufficient quantity must be ensured
  • Teaching materials, computers, laptops, printers, shall be disinfected with 70% alcohol wipes
  • Students and employee should be advised to dispose of used face covers/masks in separate covered bins placed in classrooms
  • Students cannot be involved in any cleaning activities

What does the SOP say about psycho-social well-being of a student?

  • Ensure regular counselling is done for students and teachers report mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • It is advisable that teachers, school counsellors and school health workers should work in unison to ensure emotional safety of the students

What happens if a student/teacher develops symptoms?

  • Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
  • Inform the family of the concerned person
  • Patient will remain isolated while wearing a mask/face cover till such time they are examined by a doctor
  • Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline
  • A risk assessment shall be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action will be initiated regarding management of case, their contacts and need for disinfection
  • Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive

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