The Union Ministry of Education has released guidelines for reopening schools on Monday starting from 15th October 2020 during the new Unlock 5 phase. There is an exponential rise in the COVID-19 cases across India. However, the Government has already initiated the unlock procedures in the country. As part of the subsequent Unlock phase, the Central Education Department has rolled out a set of new guidelines to reopen schools.
The Government has issued the guidelines following the Department of School Education and Literacy [DoSEL]. According to the unlock 5 guidelines, all the schools, colleges, and other educational institutions can open in a graded way starting from 15th October. The Ministry also stated that the states or union territories may follow the standard operating procedure [SoP] based on their requirements and domestic context.
The guidelines read, ‘As per para -1 of MHA order no. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 30.09.2020 for reopening, States/UT Governments may decide in respect of the reopening of schools and coaching institutions after 15.10.2020 in a graded manner in consultation with the respective schools/institutions management and based on the local situation.’
The Ministry issued guidelines further reads, ‘For this purpose, States/UTs will prepare their SOP regarding health and safety precaution for reopening of schools based on the SOP to the Ministry of Education, Government of India. States/UTs may adopt or adapt the SOP as per local context and requirements.’
As per the statement of DoSEL, the schools that are permitted to reopen must and should follow the guidelines prepared by corresponding education departments of various states or UTs depending on SOP disclosed by the DoSEL. The instructions issued by the department include reopening the schools considering two major elements. One is SOP for hygiene, safety, and health of the students and staff. The second part of the guidelines includes learning in schools amid following social and physical distancing rules.
The Education Ministry directed all the educational institutes through its guidelines to make necessary preparations before reopening the schools. It includes proper cleaning, providing hand wash facilities, sanitizing every corner of the schools, proper seating plan, secured transport preparations, taking precaution at entry and exit points. Besides, the guidelines also include making arrangements for safe residential stay at hostels for the students, teachers, and the entire school management.
The guidelines also mentioned the flexibility in attendance norms. There is a choice that the students can even prefer online classes. The SOP also focuses on following the health procedures as suggested by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The SOP also included the role and responsibility of the education departments of all states or UTs, teachers, school heads, parents, and guardians after reopening the schools amid the COVID-19 crisis.
To run the schools and other educational institutions in a safe environment, the SOP also included a checklist as adopted from the United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] guidelines. This checklist is given to schools, parents, and students to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned to this website to get the latest educational updates.