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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Paediatric task force suggests SOPs for reopening of schools in Maharashtra

The SOPs include staggering of school hours, school days and lunch time, re-organizing the classrooms to allow spacing among children, re-designing school premises to prevent transmission and setting up ‘school health clinic’.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: September 6, 2021 8:48:43 am
Maharashtra schools, Maharashtra schools reopening, covid-19, maharashtra covid-19, covid third wave, indian express, indian express news, mumbai news, maharashtra news, current affairsLast month, the state government had issued a detailed SOP for school reopening from August 17 but the decision to reopen was put on hold as the state Covid task force was opposed to it. (Representational)

Amid concerns of a Covid third wave, the paediatric task force for Covid on Sunday suggested a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed when schools in the state reopen.

Dr Suhas Prabhu, the chairperson of the paediatric task force, made a presentation of the SOPs during the Majha Doctor medical conference organized by the state’s Covid task force.

The SOPs include staggering of school hours, school days and lunch time, re-organizing the classrooms to allow spacing among children, re-designing school premises to prevent transmission and setting up ‘school health clinic’ that should be run by a trained nurse-aide appointed by the school or a volunteer or a trained teacher or doctor-parent.

“Parents should not worry that their children may get infected with the virus at the school and will put families in danger,” said Prabhu, speaking at the conference. The SOPs, if followed, could ensure the safety of children and their families, he said.

Last month, the state government had issued a detailed SOP for school reopening from August 17 but the decision to reopen was put on hold as the state Covid task force was opposed to it. The task force said the matter could be reconsidered at the end of September.

Prabhu also said that all staff, including teachers, should be fully vaccinated before coming to duty. The driver and attendant of the school bus should be vaccinated and ensure ventilation in buses and multiple trips to pick up and drop the children. Air-conditioned buses should not be allowed.

Prabhu said that Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings should be organized virtually to appraise parents of new procedures before school opening and at regular intervals. “Parents have equal responsibility in managing Covid related norms in the school and answer parent’s questions patiently and interact with them frequently,” he added.

He further said that all sports activities should be supervised by teachers and they should keep a watch on the children appearing very tired or breathless. The children can be referred to the nearest dedicated Covid hospitals or sent home with a parent.

“In the first week, teachers should not focus on academics and allow the child to acclimatize back to the school. Also, do not allow children recovered from Covid to be stigmatized,” he added.

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