Centre revises Covid guidelines for reopening of schools

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The Centre on Thursday issued revised Covid guidelines for reopening of schools amid declining trends of Covid cases across the country. The guidelines have been prepared after consultation with states.

The guidelines are advisory in nature and it is on states to decide whether schools are required to ask for consent from parents for physical classes. The school reopening guidelines will include precaution, timetable, assessment, emotional, and mental health.

“We share these guidelines, which are advisory in nature, and states are free to make their own guidelines accordingly. These guidelines contain all SoPs for attending classes.

Students can opt for online education,” said Sweety Changsan, Joint Secretary, Minister of Education.

The guidelines have been prepared in two parts. The first part addresses concerns on health, hygiene and safety aspects while the second part deals with learning with social distancing. “These guidelines are advisory in nature and we have shared with all stakeholders and have advised them to adopt it as per the need”, said Changasan. Schools are fully open in 11 states and closed in nine, she added in the briefing.

The guidelines have asked to ensure and monitor proper cleaning and sanitation facilities in the schools. It also asks to maintain at least 6 feet distance between students in the seating plan. Social distancing has to be maintained in the staff rooms, office area, assembly hall, and other common areas. The SOPs have also advised for flexible, staggered, and reduced timings for different classes.

Schools should not undertake any events where social distancing is not possible. All students and staff arrive at school wearing a face mask and continue wearing it all through, said the guidelines. Social distancing needs to be maintained during the distribution of PM POSHAN.

“School reopening has been a concern. Broad advisories have been issued from time to time. The final decisions to reopen the schools rest with states”, said Dr V.K. Paul, NITI Aayog (Health Member). He added that we would like to ensure schools are opened as per SOP because we are still in a pandemic. By implementing SOPs, we can ensure safety.

“The nation is concerned that there is a learning loss and schools should reopen at the earliest opportune time. We have come a long way now and teachers are vaccinated but we still have to follow SOPs,” he added.

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