Chandigarh: Punjab Government has decided to reopen schools in the areas outside containment zones from October 19 allowing physical attendance of the students of classes 9 to 12.
The schools will be functional for three hours a day for the students of these classes only.
Though the schools are being reopened but the online/distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and attendance of all students will not be mandatory.
The state home department has issued guidelines for the reopening of schools besides the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by the state education department to ensure safety of the students.
School Education Minister, Punjab Vijay Inder Singla, on Thursday, said the detailed guidelines on reopening of schools have also been sent to district education officers and school authorities.
A special team of the education department will be there to implement SOPs in the schools.
“As the schools are already conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. The students will be able to attend the physical classes only with the written consent of parents,” the minister said.
The parents are called upon to ensure that their wards attending schools strictly follow the SOPs and guidelines.
The authorities have been instructed to ensure foot-operated hand washing facilities in the schools; availability of key supplies like contactless thermometers, disinfectants and soaps, etc. They would also ensure sanitization of school transport before plying and also ensure social distancing while transportation of students.
“If the strength of the students is large in the school and social distancing norms are not maintainable, in that case school head/ management may take a decision whether to hold the classes in two shifts or call the students on alternate days, at their own level,” added Singla.
The schools will mark the seats of students in classrooms ensuring distance of minimum 6 feet and similarly, social distancing shall also be maintained in the staffrooms, office area, hostels and other places of public interaction.
The schools have been instructed to ensure putting up posters/messages/stickers and signage at appropriate places reminding students about maintaining social distancing. No school would undertake any event/activity without strictly ensuring social distancing norms.
However, school assembly may be conducted by the students in their respective classrooms, outdoor spaces or other available spaces and halls under the guidance of the class teacher.
No staff or students residing in the containment zones would be allowed to attend the school and other educational institutions.
As per the recommendations of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), older, pregnant and other employees who have underlying medical conditions to take extra precautions, should preferably not be exposed to any frontline work requiring direct contact with the students.