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50% students in classroom, staggered breaks: What J&K can do to reopen schools

school scaled
File photo


Srinagar: The authorities have once again extended the ongoing closure of schools in J&K.

It has been over two years now that educational institutes have been closed in the valley. First due to the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and then the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The latter still is a challenge the entire globe faces and closure of schools has been one of its worst fallouts.

Several states in India have decided to resume physical classroom activity as Covid-19 cases have decreased post the second wave in the country.

While Kargil in Ladakh has decided to reopen schools from September 1 for classes 6 to 8, Delhi too is seeing reopening of schools from Wednesday.

Mandatory thermal screening, staggered lunch breaks, alternate seating arrangement in classrooms and avoiding routine guest visits are among the guidelines announced by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) for reopening of schools and colleges from September 1.

The DDMA has said that students, teachers and other employees living in Covid containment zones will not be allowed to come to schools and colleges.

Following a marked improvement in the Covid situation in the national capital, the Delhi government on Friday had announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions would reopen from September 1.

J&K, if and when it decides to reopen schools, can follow suit and issue similar directions.

The Delhi government had clarified that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and the consent of parents would be mandatory.

“Schools and colleges should prepare a timetable as per occupancy limit of classrooms following Covid norms. A maximum 50 per cent students per classroom may be called depending upon capacity. The seating arrangement should be done in such a way that seats are occupied in an alternate manner,” read the DDMA guidelines notified on Monday.

“As the situation varies from school to school and college to college, the institutions may stagger the schedule to avoid crowding in classrooms and at main entrance or exit, the DDMA said.

Lunch breaks may also be staggered and preferably be held in open areas as students will remove masks while having food, the guidelines added.

While the government has noted that the vaccination centres and activities like ration distribution which were going on in different schools will continue, the DDMA said the area being used for these activities should be separated from the area which will be used for academic activities.

“All schools and colleges are advised to ensure that a quarantine room is available for emergency use. Routine guest visits should be discouraged,” the guidelines said.