Govt issues SOPs for partial reopening of schools, higher educational institutions – Times of India

NEW DELHI: As part of the phase-wise unlocking of activities, the ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday issued the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for partial reopening of secondary and senior secondary schools. It also released the preventive measures to contain spread of Covid-19 in skill or entrepreneurship training institutions, higher educational institutions conducting doctoral courses and post graduate studies.

The SOPs are based on the activities permitted by the ministry of home affairs under “Unlock 4”, the order for which was issued on August 29.

As per the SOP for school reopening, which would be effective from September 21, 2020 the students from Class IX onwards would be allowed to visit schools on “voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers.”

Students will be allowed to visit schools subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians and the visits and teacher–student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner.

The SOP for higher education stated that entrepreneurship training has been permitted in national skill training institutes, industrial training institutes, short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other Ministries of Government of India or State government, National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), and their training providers.

For higher educational institutions conducting PhD or technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works will be permitted by the department of higher education in consultation with MHA.

Both the SOPs outlined various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken when schools are permitting student which include physical distancing of at least six feet, mandatory use of face covers/ masks, frequent hand washing, self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness and prohibition on spitting, among others.

Only schools and HEIs outside the containment zones shall be allowed to open. Moreover, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones are not allowed to attend the school/ institutions and they are advised not to visit areas falling within non-containment zones.

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