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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration has kicked off the process for the reopening of schools across the valley from September 21.

A senior official of the School Education Department told The Kashmir Monitor that they will be reopening school with 50% of staff, students. The students would be allowed only after submitting written consent from their parents.

“As schools have remained closed for a quite long time, classrooms are not in good condition. The preparatory phase is going on in every school with all SOPs in place. Head of the institutes (HOIs) will decide the roster of their respective staff,” he said.

The official noted that up to class 8th only 50% of staff will report to the school every day and students of 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th can come voluntarily with 50% attendance. “HOIs will frame the roster and decide the timing for students accordingly. It is up to the parents whether they will permit their children or not. However, online classes and other digitals education platforms will continue to function,” he said.

 On August 29, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued guidelines for Unlock 4 and allowed the partial reopening of schools from September 21.

“Students will be permitted to go to school only with prior written consent from parents and only 50 percent of the teaching and non-teaching staff will be called in,” the guidelines read.

The health minister noted that teacher-students interaction must be organized in a staggered manner. Even for guidance, all senior students will not report to school together. Guidance activities will be staggered with students being allocated specific time for reporting, it said.

“All entry points to the schools will have hand sanitizers and thermal screening for temperature. To ensure that physical distancing of six feet is maintained, schools have been asked to draw markings on the floor in staff rooms, office areas, the mess, library, cafeteria, and also design classroom seating accordingly,” the guidelines read

Schools in Kashmir have remained closed for the last 13 months due to two back to back lockdowns since August 5 last year, when Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of special status and the state was divided into two union territories. From March, the government ordered lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID 19.

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