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Unlock 5.0: Schools in these states to reopen from October 19, check guidelines

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New Delhi, Oct 18: Schools in three states, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Sikkim, will re-open partially in areas outside containment zones from October 19 for students of class 9th to 12th.

However, strict rules need to be followed by school authorities to prevent the spread of the disease.

Representational Image

Punjab

The Punjab government would reopen schools for students of Classes 9 to 12 in the areas outside containment zones in the state from October 19.

Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla informed that as the home department has issued guidelines for the reopening of schools in areas outside containment zones, the school education department has also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure safety of the students.

When will schools re-open in New Delhi

He further said the detailed guidelines on reopening of schools have also been sent to district education officers and school authorities for precise implementation while allowing students to attend physical classes.

Singla said after reopening schools, safety of the students will be the utmost priority of the government and a special team of officers of the education department will be formed to implement the SOPs in the schools.

He pointed out that though the schools were being reopened, the online/distance learning classes shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and attendance of all students will not be mandatory.

"As the schools are already conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. The students will be able to attend the physical classes only with the written consent of parents," the minister said in a statement here.

Singla informed that the parents should also ensure that their ward will be wearing a face mask when they go to school and make them aware about not to exchange the masks with others.

He added that the parents should also encourage their ward to wear full-sleeved clothes to minimise the interaction with any external surface.

The education minister said the schools will open for three hours a day for students and only students of Classes 9 to 12 will be called in school.

No student of any other class will be called to the school. He added, "If the strength of the students is large in the school and social distancing norms are not maintainable, in that case, the school head or management may take a decision on whether to hold the classes in two shifts or call the students at alternate days, at their own level."

Sikkim

The Sikkim government has decided to reopen all schools in the Himalayan state from October 19 in a graded manner.

The government has said winter holidays will be done away with completely this year, and classes will be held six days a week, with Saturday being a half day.

All notified government holidays, however, will be in place, Thatal said.

The current academic session will conclude by February 13, 2021, and the next will commence two days after, on February 15, he said.

The schools, for various activities, will have to strictly comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) laid down by the Union ministries of education and health, as well as the protocols set by the state, Thatal said.

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A calendar has been prepared by the state education department, going by which the institutes will have to make certain arrangements before reopening -- such as compiling contact details of all parents and ensuring proper hygiene on the campus.

According to the calendar, students of classes 11 and 12 will be able to attend schools on a voluntary basis from October 19, but each of them will have to carry a written permission from parents or guardian.

Similary, classes 6-8 will resume on November 2, and classes 3, 4 and 5 on November 23, all on a voluntary basis, and subject to the COVID-19 situation prevailing at that time.

Educational institutes in Sikkim were shut down in March, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

The state government had, however, partially opened government schools on September 21, with 50 per cent of the teaching and non-teaching staff members reporting for work, and students from classes 9 to 12 attending classes on a voluntary basis.

Uttar Pradesh

The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday said schools for students of classes 9 to 12 will reopen from October 19, after remaining shut for over six months in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classes will be held in shifts and all necessary protocols including social distancing and proper sanitisation of premises will have to be followed by schools, it said.

Students will only be allowed to attend classes after furnishing written permission from their parents or guardians, the government said.

After proper consideration by the government, it was decided that classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 of all boards outside containment zones will be resumed, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said in a statement.

Classes 9 to 12 will resume with the physical presence of students from October 19, he said.

Sharma said schools will run in shifts and proper attention will be paid to the health of students. In the first shift, classes for 9 and 10 standards will be held. Classes for 11 and 12 standards will be held in the second shift.

He said 50 per cent of the students should be called in every class on one day and the remaining 50 per cent the next day.

Arrangement should be made to see that the students sit at a distance of 6 feet from each other, he added.

Sharma said the students would be allowed to attend classes only after they furnish written permission from their parents or guardians as their health and future are important.

Additional chief secretary, Secondary Education, Aradhana Shukla, has issued an order in this connection and a standard operating procedure (SOP) on health, sanitation and necessary protocols has already been issued for the reopening of schools, the statement said.

The order is available on the website of the department, it said.

Before reopening, schools will have to undertake proper sanitisation and this exercise is mandatory before every shift on a regular basis, the deputy chief minister said.

Sanitiser, hand wash, thermal scanning and arrangement for primary treatment should be available in all schools, he said.

In case of symptoms of cold or fever in any student, teacher or other employees, they will be sent home after primary treatment, the statement said.

School buses used by the students should be properly sanitised every day and proper distance should be maintained in seating arrangements, it said.

All teachers, students and workers should compulsorily use masks and the school management should keep reserve masks, it added.

Directives have also been issued to continue online teaching and encouraging it. Priority should be given to calling those students to school who do not have access to online teaching, Sharma said.

No student should be forced to come to school, he said.

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