Emphasising the voluntary nature of physical attendance, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has issued an SOP permitting schools to open for children of all grades from Monday but all precautions to maintain 50% capacity and social distancing will remain.
The DDMA on Friday issued the SOP to be followed in all such institutes while allowing primary and middle school students to return.
The SOP reiterates all precautions which had been enforced for reopening classes IX to XII, and heads of schools and institutes have been directed to consult their parent stakeholders by conducting meetings with the SMC and PTA members to finalise their plans for reopening.
It will not be compulsory for students to report to schools, and only those with written parental consent will be allowed. Online learning will continue for those who opt out of attending school physically. Further, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be permitted to report to their institutes.
Heads of schools are to prepare timetables according to the capacity of their classrooms and laboratories, with approximately 50% of students of the classroom’s capacity to be seated in it. According to a school’s capacity and student strength, they may stagger the school schedule to avoid crowding in classrooms and at the school entry and exit. Schools may also stagger lunch breaks. Buildings from which double-shift schools operate have to maintain a gap of at least one hour between the last group of the morning shift and the first group of the second shift.
Apart from standard precautions on sanitisation, masking and physical distancing, institutes have also been directed to maintain a ‘quarantine room’ on campus for the event that a student or teacher displays symptoms while at school.
There are a large number of government schools that are functioning as vaccination and ration distribution centres. These services will not be halted. The SOP directs that the part of the school used for these activities be demarcated and separated from the part which will be used for academic activities.
The SOP requires teachers to speak to every student to enquire about their well-being, and provide them emotional support as well as mentally prepare them to resume academic activities. They are to try and understand the current academic levels of the students and “bridge the learning gaps to strengthen and recapitulate the foundational subject-specific competency of previous class”.
On Friday, the education department also directed all district-level education officials to set up Zonal Level Inspection Committees to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour is being followed in schools and stated that district administrations may be requested not to deploy teachers for Covid duty.