Delhi govt outlines guidelines for students of classes 10-12 to return to school
Vaccinating teachers on priority, explicit consent from parents of students willing to attend school, and restrictions on sharing stationery or books in classrooms — these are among the guidelines the state education department recommended for institutions to thwart the spread of Covid-19, a day after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed students of classes 10, 11 and 12 to visit school for admissions and board exam-related work.
“Online classes/digital distance learning will continue and students who wish to continue their studies through online classes will be allowed to do so. The concerned head of school shall make specific schedules as per the capacity of the classroom/labs following Covid-appropriate behaviour,” the directorate of education said in a circular issued to all schools on Monday.
All willing students between classes 10 and 12 will be allowed to visit schools, except students and staff members from containment zones.
Everyone on premises will be required to stay socially distant and wear masks all the time, said the guidelines.
“Proper sanitisation of school premises including frequent sanitisation of common areas like washrooms etc shall be ensured by the head of school concerned,” the circular added.
Schools have also been directed to thermally screen all staff members and students, and those with flu-like symptoms will be asked to return. Teachers will be deputed at school gates during entry and exit periods to ensure distancing protocols are followed even outside the school’s premises. When classes resumed briefly between January and February this year for students of classes 9 to 12, several principals and teachers flagged the issue of overcrowding outside schools.
With the Capital’s Covid-19 caseload at a nearly 16-month low, several schools and parents inquired with the government if schools will reopen for senior students. This is mainly because of the two-term board examination introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) this year to prepare for an “unprecedented situation” arising due to the pandemic next year. The first set of board examinations for Class 10 and 12 students is set to take place between November and December this year.
However, government schools and several private schools in the Capital, including The Indian Public School, Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, Army Public School in Shankar Vihar, Amity International School in Pushp Vihar, said they are not likely to open before next week.
Principals explained that while standard operating protocols were drawn up in January this year, schools needed to acquire consent forms from parents and hold sessions to ease the students back to school. Preparing laboratories and working out a schedule with teachers to allot students into small groups will take a few days, schools said.
“Our school has also planned that only teachers at least partially vaccinated will be allowed to come to school. Our priority will be Class 12 students. We will issue consent slips to parents in a day or two and will decide upon the batches based on the responses. We will give parents time to think about it after informing them of the safety protocols being put in place. It is likely that we will open by next week,” said Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School.
Malini Narayanan, principal of Army Public School in Shankar Vihar and chairperson of National Progressive Schools’ Conference, which has 122 schools under it, said, “Most of our schools will start calling students from next week. Our laboratories are large enough and we have started the sanitisation process already. We will not run buses or call students every day. Children will come once or twice a week and can catch up on the remaining work at home. We have conducted walk-throughs with parents to ensure they are confident of sending their children to school.”
Not all schools in the city are keen on calling back students now, though.
Madhulika Sen, director of Tagore International School, said, “We are supposed to call them for any of three reasons — counselling, practicals, or admission formalities. All of these can be done online. Our practical work has been scheduled for between September-October so we will call students then. If students want to come for counselling, only that will be allowed.”
Government schools in the Capital have also begun the process of consultation with students and teachers. The education department has asked district deputy directors of education (DDEs) to vaccinate teachers and school staff by August 23. Several Delhi government schools are also serving as vaccination centres and will have to take special care to arrange for classes.
Government school principal Sukhbir Singh Yadav, president of Vice and Principals’ Association of Delhi, said they will start classes from August 16. “We have around three vaccination sites and require only three rooms for the process and that can be conducted in the primary wing. We will have separate entry-exit points for those coming to get vaccinated and those coming for academic activities along with supervision. Initially, we will start with teachers demonstrating the practicals and students can just observe. Students will be divided into smaller groups to hold practicals,” he said.
Class 11 admission process has already started in Delhi government schools, and it will take around a month to complete the formalities, principals said. Government school students will have to come to school to discuss their subject interests based on their class 10 scores for the admission process.