Two days after the UP Department of Secondary Education released its guidelines, Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash on Monday directed schools outside containment zones to reopen from October 19 for students in classes 9 to 12.
The directions were issued on the basis of the secondary education department’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), released last week, for restarting schools. Physical classes were suspended on March 23 following the declaration of a nationwide lockdown for containing the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the directions, schools have been asked to follow different protocols issued by the government, including the Secondary Education Department’s SOP dated October 5.
Each day, before opening, schools have to be sanitised. School administrations have to make proper arrangements for hand sanitisation near their entrance. Social distancing has to be maintained at school gates at the start and end of the day.
The SOPs have made it compulsory for teachers and other staff members to wear masks, while students have to be seated six feet apart. The education department has said that students who do not have access to facilities needed to attend online classes should be given priority. Those who wish to continue online classes may be permitted, but it is the school’s responsibility to make arrangements for students’ online studies.
The government has also advised schools to operate two shifts — teaching students in classes 9 and 10 in the first shift, and the other two classes in the second one.To ensure social distancing, students have to go to school every second day. On any given day, a maximum 50 per cent of students can attend physical classes.
Those who want to attend classes in schools will have to get a written approval from their parents or guardians. No one will be forced to attend classes in schools, with the government instructing the administrations at these education institutions to be flexible.
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