New Delhi: revising school timings, restricting outdoor activities, stocking ORS and glucose sachets, and constantly motivating children to stay hydrated are among allthe steps schools are taking because of the heatwave conditions in the national capital region (NCR).
A torrid heatwave had sent the mercury soaring across large swathes of India with the temperature in Delhi rising to 46 degrees Celsius. The national capital also recorded its second hottest April in 72 years with a monthly average maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had earlier this week said a fresh spell of heatwave is likely to begin over northwest India from May 7 and over central India from May 8.
While closing schools due to heatwave is not an option as suggested by experts as offline classes have started from the new session after nearly two years due to the Covid-induced pandemic.
According to Shubhi Soni, the Head of the Shri Ram Wonder Years school in Rohini, all outdoor activities have been restrained in the wake of the rising temperatures.
"School timings will also be revised as per the prevailing conditions and dispersal in the afternoon peak hours will be avoided to prevent heat strokes and energy drainage among students.
"We also have an emergency kit for use, which comprises ORS, glucose, and oral electrolyte to be given to children if they need it. The school staff is keeping a thorough check on children and constantly motivating them to drink water to manage the heatwave," she said.
Anshu Mital, the principal of MRG School, Rohini, said they have also reduced outdoor activities extensively to safeguard students from exposure to heat.
"Students are often motivated to drink plenty of fluids to keep themselves fresh and hydrated. We also have a school clinic with well-trained staff to treat students if there are any health hazards," the principal said.
Water is sprinkled on the school ground and terrace to bring down the temperature, Mital said.
"We are also making a conscious effort to hold counselling sessions to spread awareness about the preventive measures for heatstroke among students and also encourage them to follow those steps," she said.
Amid the intense heatwave across the country, the Centre had last week urged states and Union Territories to review their health facility preparedness for the availability of adequate quantities of medicines and equipment while ensuring sufficient drinking water and continued functioning of cooling appliances in critical areas.
The Centre had also advised people to avoid getting out in the sun, especially between 12 noon and 3 pm, avoid strenuous activities when outside in the afternoon, and avoid alcohol, tea, coffee, or drinks with a large amount of sugar, stating these may lead to loss of more body fluid or cause stomach cramps.
The Centre had also advised people to avoid high protein food and stale food and not leave children or pets in parked vehicles.
"The rising heat is making it impossible to step outdoors. The school has initiated putting a halt to sports activities as precautionary measures... A workshop is being among students about how to keep oneself hydrated, and the importance of healthy meals loaded with carbs and proteins," said Harender Kumar Sharma, the principal of TDI International School, Kundli.
Aashish Kumar Sharma, the COO of the Gaurs Group of Schools said parents are being advised to keep their children hydrated at all times, and give them lots of liquids to strengthen their immunity and revitalise them for the school day.
"We ensure that proper temperature is maintained at classrooms and school premises... The teachers are always encouraging students to drink water at regular intervals. We are also planning to put curbs on outdoor activities due to the rising mercury," he said.