Students attending physical classes will require the permission of parents or guardians, while those not comfortable with returning will be allowed to continue online learning.
On Monday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued a set of guidelines for schools, coaching centres, and colleges to adopt ahead of their proposed reopening from September 1 to prevent Covid-19 infections.
The guidelines follow broadly its sub-committee recommendations that suggested reopening educational institutions, which have been closed since April 9 following the outbreak of the deadly second Covid-19 wave, be permitted to reopen in phases. Accordingly, the DDMA has permitted students of Classes IX to XII, colleges, coaching centres, and training institutes to return for offline learning. It will take a call on resuming offline learning for students of lower classes after assessing the impact of the first reopening phase.
Students who attend physical classes will require the permission of their parents or guardians, while those not comfortable with attending schools will be allowed to continue online learning.
As physical classes are restarting under the pandemic’s shadow; students experience several changes upon their return. They will have to undergo thermal scanning, sanitise themselves with hand sanitisers, and be checked for face masks at the entry gates before being allowed inside.
Any students who display Covid-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, body ache, nausea, runny nose, and diarrhoea will be taken to a quarantine room and the cases reported to the heads of schools.
Parents have also been requested not to send to school children who show symptoms of Covid-19. Schools have been asked to set up sufficient wash basins for frequent hand washing.
Ensuring social distancing
Since each class will permit only 50 per cent students, school managements will need to keep in mind the capacity and occupancy limit while drawing up time-tables.
Seating will be on an alternate basis, while class timings will be staggered. The timing of lunch breaks will also be staggered to prevent overcrowding. Since students will remove their masks while eating, it has been suggested to hold the lunch breaks in open spaces.
Schools have been asked to open more than one entry/exit gate for students and staff members. There will also be a one-hour gap at least between two shifts and the premises will be sanitised regularly.
Students will also be guided not to share books, copies, stationery items, and lunch.
The DDMA has directed the heads of schools and colleges and other institutes to ensure vaccination of all teaching and non-teaching staff members as a priority.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said around 98 per cent Delhi government school teachers have received at least one vaccine dose.
Vaccination and ration drives in schools
The government’s ration relief and vaccination drives in designated schools will also continue.
However, the DDMA guidelines suggest separating the area of the school used for these purposes from the area being used for academic activity.
The district administration concerned will cordon off the respective areas, which will have separate gates and civil defence volunteers to avoid students mingling with outsiders.
According to the DDMA guidelines, all buses, vans, etc used to transport students and staff members should be regularly sanitised, while heads of schools/institutes will ensure that eligible transportation staff are vaccinated.
At present, Delhi public buses operate at full seating capacity. Cabs are permitted to ferry a maximum of two passengers, while maxi cabs that are usually used as school vans can ferry five occupants at the most.