From steps taken to ensure there won’t be overcrowding in schools, to procedures involved in the event a student tests positive for coronavirus, here is the detailed SOP that will be followed in schools.
In a week’s time, schools in Kerala will reopen their doors to students, for offline lessons, more than a year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While classes for Standard 1 to 7, Plus One and Plus Two students will start from November 1, classes for other students will start from November 15. Although the state government announced that digital lessons will also continue alongside offline lessons, many parents who spoke to TNM earlier had expressed concerns about the safety of sending their children to school during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Department of General Education has released a detailed standard operating procedure on how the school operates when classes reopen.
From steps taken to ensure there will be no overcrowding in schools, to procedures involved in the event a student tests positive for coronavirus, the SOP details various aspects of school management. Here are some of the important POS guidelines.
Who all are allowed to come to school
Firstly, no student will be required to attend classes offline and students who wish to attend school must do so with parental permission. Students who are ill or living with a disability are advised not to attend offline classes during the initial phase.
If the school has a total enrollment of more than 1000 students, classes should be organized so that only 25% of the total student population is present on campus at a time.
Bio bubble system
Each class will be divided into different lots – which will be considered organic bubbles – of students depending on the total number of students in the class. Each bio bubble will have 6 to 10 students. The lessons will be organized in such a way that the students of one bio bubble do not come into close contact with the students of other bio bubbles. The SOP recommends that students from a particular locality be grouped together in the same bio bubble. A final decision on this matter can be taken by schools after consultation with parents.
During the first two weeks of reopening, classes will take place until noon. Inside the classrooms, only two students are allowed to sit on a bench.
Students will not be allowed to crowd in and out of the classroom, sit together and eat food, or participate in the school assembly.
Students will be advised not to share food, water, and other property with each other.
Students should only visit schools during their allotted time.
Monitoring of health problems
The SOP stressed that all teaching and non-teaching staff in schools should receive the two doses of COVID-19 vaccination.
As soon as schools open, a health check will be organized in collaboration with the Department of Health for students and staff.
All schools are expected to form a 12-member school health oversight committee consisting of principal, PTA member, local body ward member, ASHA worker, junior health inspector , etc. This committee will be responsible for ensuring that the COVID-19 protocol is followed in the school.
Other responsibilities of the committee include holding weekly meetings, establishing a sick room in the school to monitor children with symptoms, contacting local health workers, and providing daily reports to the ward. health status of the school – – including details of staff and students showing symptoms, those who have tested positive for coronavirus, etc. These reports will be compiled at the district level and will be sent once a week to the director of public education and the director of health for monitoring.
What happens if a student / staff is found to have COVID-19
If a student or staff member exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, their contact details should be entered in a separate register, which should be kept for the same. The contact details of these students or staff members will be forwarded to the nearest health center. Those who show symptoms will also be tested for COVID-19.
If a student has the disease, the students in the biological bubble to which the positive students belong should be isolated. The contact details of the students must be transmitted to the health service. The School Health Monitoring Committee will initiate the constitution of the contact list of the HIV-positive person.
Sanitation and other guidelines
In order to ensure more safety, after the schools reopen, no one other than the students, staff and selected members of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), who have taken the two doses of vaccination, will be allowed inside the school premises.
Soap and water should be available for students inside the school premises. Students should wash their hands frequently with soap and water and use face masks in school. Students using public transport should use double masks and carry disinfectants.
Classrooms need to be disinfected daily, while toilets need to be disinfected several times throughout the day.
Students must bring drinking water from their homes. If drinking water facilities are provided in schools, disposable paper cups should be used.
To read: For true federalism, each state must have its own educational policy