Starting today, the Ministry of Home Affairs has allowed for partial reopening of schools in various states across India. Closed since March due to the pandemic, schools in various states will partially resume from today after a gap of around 6 months for the teaching as well as the non-teaching staff. The schools as of now have only been opened for students of Classes 9 through 12 but their attending the same will strictly be on a voluntary basis.
The MHA has also released a specific set of SOPs for the partial re-opening of schools. Respective State Governments are, however, at liberty to decide if schools will be re-opened in a particular state and also to form their own SOPs in addition to the one released by the MHA. As such, a few states have given permission for partial reopening of schools from 21st September 2020. These include Assam, Karnataka, Haryana, Nagaland and Madhya Pradesh. Schools in other states across the country will remain closed in September.
Students in states where schools have been allowed to re-open must note that under partial resumption as advised in the Unlock 4.0 guidelines, only 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff can go to school in a day to carry out various activities. Regular classes are not allowed until 30th September 2020. While students of Classes 9 to 12 are advised to go to school to seek guidance from teachers, their decision on the same is strictly voluntary and will require parental consent. Attendance of students is voluntary rather than mandatory as online classes will continue as well. Only students who wish to attend school to seek guidance from their teachers are required to go.
For schools in containment zones, neither the students nor the teaching, as well as non-teaching staff, are allowed to go. Also in states where schools have been allowed to re-open partially, private schools can decide for themselves whether or not to re-open. Students are thus, advised to get in touch with their respective schools to be informed on whether or not their schools are re-opening and get familiar with the schedule and plans if re-opening.
Under the MHA issued guidelines, schools re-opening partially are required to have thermal checks at entry, exit points, provision for hand sanitization at regular intervals, classes for students attending to be conducted in the open areas of schools, adherence to proper social distancing norms, mandatory wearing of masks by everyone present, etc. The SOPs also require no assemblies, sports period or opening of cafetarias and installation of the Arogya Setu App.