MHA issued guidelines for Unlock 3.0 has mandated that schools and colleges would remain closed till August 31, 2020. The word of the possibility of re-opening schools from September 1, 2020 are doing rounds on social media. While the government has denied any plans as yet of re-opening schools, parents have shared their reluctance to send the children back to school just yet. The question is when and how the schools would be re-opened. As for when, there is no confirmation. As to how, schools have shared the various possibilities of re-opening the schools.
“The dates are not set yet but schools have to be re-opened. Coronavirus is not going to vanish one Sunday making schools all safe on Monday – there has to be a strategy and we are working on it,” shared an official. But what are these strategies? From opening the schools in batches to smaller duration as well as sanitization of the classes – here is what all is being considered.
While all these measures are being considered, experts suggest that even with schools re-opening, online classes would continue. “It would be blended learning as large class sizes cannot be accommodated. Schools must start preparing for live lectures and a blended model. We hope to welcome our students back with happy smiles but we are also mindful that schools may change – even when COVID19 pandemic ends,” Ms. Rai on re-opening schools.
Key Highlights regarding reopening of schools:
Opening schools in batches – first for students of senior by classes 9 to 12 and then later for students of classes 6 to 8 – depending on the feedback of progress. Though nothing is final as yet, an official in MHRD shared that there would be a limit on the class size and restrictions on the number of hours as well. As per the information shared, schools may be allowed to function in two shifts for students with a maximum of 15 students in each class.
Mandatory sanitization of classrooms before and after classes with 24 hour gaps between subsequent use of a classroom is also being considered. As per the information shared, the schools may be required to ensure that the same room is not used for 24 hours after a class – even after mandatory sanitization as an extra precautionary measure.
Reduced school hours – A model of opening the school in 2 batches of 4 hours is being considered as a strategy to curtail socialisation. It is being suggested that students would be called in batches for a maximum duration of 4 to 5hours which could be 2 hour lectures for two subjects or one and a half lectures for 3 subjects. “The idea is more in the form of tutorials rather than classes, giving students the time to clear their doubts and understand the concepts,” shared Ms. Rai.
Safety measures like temperature check at entry and exit of the student, face masks and shields and minimum 6 m distance between two students to be mandatory for all schools with strict implementation. “We are exploring the glass divides on all the desks as has been employed by many countries that have started the school after outbreak.”
No Breaks or assemblies may be the new normal. “The rationale behind fewer hours for schools is to remove the lunch breaks. A 3 to 4 hour school can be conducted without the necessary lunch breaks in the middle. A small recess or time out under supervision may be given but the idea is curb the groups being formed or sharing of lunch, which is not the safest habit in these times,” shared Mr. Aggarwal, head of administration at a leading school.
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