Walking into the school campus will be a different experience for the students in the fresh academic year.
A disinfected school premises, a fever check at the main entrance, automated hand wash stations and posters all around on precautions against the spread of coronavirus will meet them. Kerchiefs will be mandatory along with uniforms.
These are a few components of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) developed as part of the COVID-19 preparedness for schools.
“Gloves and masks are compulsory for teachers and mid-day meal staff. We are doing away with the morning assembly session to avoid crowding, and depending on the strength, classes will be conducted in shifts,” Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh told The Hindu on Tuesday.
Schools with a strength less than 30 will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with 15 students in each classroom, those with more than 30 will run in two shifts (8 a.m. to 12 p.m and 12.30 p.m to 4.30 p.m) and schools with a strength of 50-100 will run on alternative days, and students will attend classes in shifts.
Activities such as yoga will replace all kinds of sports in the physical education period, fortnightly health check-ups will be conducted, besides maintenance of health records of each student in the school.
Under the mid-day meal programme, serving of cooked meal will be avoided. Instead, dry ration will be supplied till the situation becomes normal.
Only 10 students will sit in each examination hall with mandatory temperature check, hand-washing and masks. Students living in far-away areas from the examination centre will have the option of selecting a centre located close by, and transport facility will be arranged for them.
Every centre will have an isolation room where children showing symptoms of the virus will be shifted.
Thermal scanners will be used during entry and exit of the evaluators who must wear masks and gloves as they touch a large number of papers. The entire area will in disinfected before and after the process, and only two persons will be allowed to use the lift at the same time.
The Minister said since the virus necessitated a prolonged lockdown that led to loss of precious time, the officials had to work overtime to find new ways to keep the students hooked to their classroom lessons.
In the lockdown period, worksheets were being distributed at school points and detailed instructional videos would be telecast through TV channels. The assessment of the worksheets would be done at the school points once in a week.
“Detailed distance learning modalities are being prepared by an expert committee, which will be put into practice with diligence,” said the Minister.