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50% students per classroom, staggered lunch breaks among Delhi guidelines for reopening of schools

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Schools and colleges have also been asked to ensure that the eligible teaching and non-teaching staff as well as support staff of the schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutes, are vaccinated and it should be done at the top priority.

50% students per classroom, staggered lunch breaks among Delhi guidelines for reopening of schools
Allowing only 50 percent students per classroom, mandatory thermal screening, staggered lunch breaks, alternate seating arrangements 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 non-teaching staff 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. 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 percent 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 the 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. Students should also be advised to not share lunch, books and stationery items, 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.
"In this regard, district administration shall cordon off the area demarcated for the purpose, make separate entry and exit for the centres and deploy a sufficient number of civil defence volunteers to avoid mingling of students with the persons coming with students”, the DDMA said. “On-campus counselling and guidance of students and teachers to be conducted to give emotional or trauma support for their readiness with new normal of stringent physical distancing, face mask guidelines and hygiene guidelines," it said.
Schools and colleges have also been asked to ensure that the eligible teaching and non-teaching staff as well as support staff of the schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutes, are vaccinated and it should be done at the top priority.
"Mandatory thermal screening of everyone, through sanitisation of all buildings, proper handwashing arrangements. 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. The DDMA has noted that there should be a gap of at least one hour between the exit of the last group of the morning shift and entry of the first group of evening shifts in double shifted schools and colleges.
"Similarly, all other educational and coaching institutes shall maintain a gap between batches and shifts. The help of volunteers may be taken to avoid crowding and maintaining of COVID-appropriate behaviour at the entry and exit gates of the building or premises," it said. "All vehicles used for transportation should be sanitised regularly and heads shall ensure that all eligible transportation staff (driver, attendant, etc.) are vaccinated and it should be done at the top priority," the guidelines added. The DDMA has also clarified that all other activities allowed and prohibited as per its earlier orders will remain in force till September 16.
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