Ahead of reopening of schools from October 4 in Maharashtra, the state government has released a comprehensive guideline for Class VIII to XII in urban areas and Class V to XII in rural areas. These guidelines will also be applicable for Classes V to VII in government, ashram and Eklavya Model Residential Schools under the State Tribal Development Department for the academic year 2021-2022.
Apart from teaching, the government said that teachers should be trained for emergencies as Covid-19 crisis is not over yet.
The government has emphasized that adequate focus must be given by the school management to provide a conducive atmosphere for students who will be attending offline classes after a long time. As per the guidelines, apart from sanitization, social distancing and face masks, schools will have to counsel students complaining or suffering from stress and depression.
Each and every school will have to maintain a sick room with the deployment of necessary medicines and equipment to treat Covid-19 students who test positive while attending classes. Regular health check-ups is mandatory and if any student is detected with high temperature or drop in oxygen, the child must be immediately shifted to the sick room and the doctors should be alerted.
After the release of guidelines, school education minister Varsha Gaikwad, on Saturday, held a meeting with officials and education officers to assess preparedness. “For a smooth transition to physical classes, effective coordination with the health department and local administration will have to be maintained,’’ she said
She added, “The government will prepare an action plan and help ground-level officials overcome any hurdles to resume physical classes. I have instructed all education officers to personally visit schools and monitor their re-openings.”
A member of the pediatric task force Dr Samr Dalwai said that as schools reopen from Monday, deep cleaning of premises is important and sanitization must be carried out after each shift. “Ventilation is necessary and proper fans must be installed. Air conditioners must be avoided and sanitizers must be placed at common areas. At the local level, schools can decide if they want staggered hours or days.”
He suggested that children must be encouraged to walk to school instead of taking school bus or other transport system. The parents and teachers meeting will be convened to apprise parents of the new rules.
According to the guidelines, there will be restrictions on sports activities, gatherings and workshops as it may lead to crowding. The government has suggested formation of small groups with the appointment of group leaders to avoid crowding. It will be the group leader’s responsibility to pay attention to co-students and inform teachers in the event of any student suffering from an illness, cough and cold.