Flexible attendance and sick leave policies may be developed and implemented to encourage students and staff to stay at home when sick.
The Department of School Education and Literacy and the ministry of education have issued guidelines that are to be followed for the reopening of schools. The move from the education ministry comes after the union home ministry announced last week that states and union territories can reopen educational institutions after October 15.
The development comes after universities and schools across the country were ordered to shut down on March 16 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. This was followed by the announcement of a nationwide lockdown by the Centre on March 25.
Following are the important guidelines that union education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announced through a tweet:
Schools must arrange and implement for thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, furniture, equipment, stationery, storage places, water tanks, kitchens, canteens, washrooms, laboratories, libraries on school campuses and ensure airflow in an indoor space.
Schools may be encouraged to make their own SOPs based on the guidelines issued by states and UTs, keeping in view the safety and physical or social-distancing norms, and ensuring that the notices, posters, messages, communication to parents in this regard are prominently displayed and disseminated.
Flexible attendance and sick leave policies may be developed and implemented to encourage students and staff to stay at home when sick. Students may attend schools only with the written consent of parents. Students may opt for online classes rather than physically attend school.
There shall be no assessment up to 2-3 weeks of school reopening and use of ICT and online learning shall continue to be encouraged.
Schools should ensure a smooth transition of students from home-based schooling during lockdown to formal schooling. Schools can implement a re-adjusted school calendar and redesigned Annual Curriculum Plan (ACP), remedial classes, or conduct back-to-school campaigns among other steps.
Physical distancing and social distancing should be ensured while planning the seating plan, functions and events should be avoided. There should be staggered entry and exit timings, points of schools, and time table. All students and staff should arrive at school wearing a face cover or mask and continue wearing it all through, especially when in class, or doing any activity in groups, such as eating in the mess, working in the laboratories, or reading in the libraries.
Schools should plan for academic calendar changes for all classes, particularly in relation to breaks and exams. Ensure all students have access to prescribed textbooks before school reopens. Ensure availability in school or at contactable distance full-time trained healthcare attendant, nurse, doctor, and counsellor to take care of physical and mental health of the students. Regular health check-ups of students and teachers may be organised.