Reopening of Pune schools: Staff in a fix over mandatory RT-PCR

PMC official order states that all teaching and non-teaching staff have to get an RT-PCR test done before the reopening of schools in Pune
Municipal workers sanitise the premises of a school in Pune. PMC official order states that all teaching and non-teaching staff have to get an RT-PCR test done before the reopening of schools in Pune. (HT)
Municipal workers sanitise the premises of a school in Pune. PMC official order states that all teaching and non-teaching staff have to get an RT-PCR test done before the reopening of schools in Pune. (HT)
Published on Oct 03, 2021 12:32 AM IST
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ByNamrata Devikar

Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has given its nod to reopening of schools from October 4 and the educational institutes have to follow Covid protocols to ensure safety of students. Teachers from across the city expressed unhappiness over the last moment order. Schools will reopen at Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and Pune rural from Monday (October 4).

Many schools and teachers were enthusiastic about reopening of offline classes after almost one and a half years. However, the enthusiasm was short-lived.

The official order by PMC clearly states that all teaching and non-teaching staff have to get an RT-PCR test done before the reopening of schools.

Speaking about the order, Harishchandra Gaikwad, president of the Pune District Principals’ Association, questioned how the staff can get the RT-PCR result in less than a day.

“The order clearly states that RT-PCR has to be done before reopening of schools. Majority staff are vaccinated. Moreover, this order is issued on Saturday and schools are expected to start from Monday. In such a short notice, how can all the staff be tested and results be submitted at the respective schools?” said Gaikwad.

He said that because of the announcement, many schools may not reopen on Monday as all staff may not get their RT-PCR results by then.

“Schools, teachers and students were very enthusiastic about reopening of schools. However, it is likely that all schools may reopen by mid-week as results of all staff members would be made available by them. PMC should have informed us at least a few days prior,” said Gaikwad.

He said that all Covid protocols are important to ensure the safety of students, however, local authorities should have issued the official statement earlier this week.

In September last week, the state government announced that all schools in urban areas are to be reopened from October 4 for classes 8 to 12 and from classes 5 onwards in rural parts. However, PMC waited until the very last moment on Saturday to issue a formal order on the same.

Speaking about the order, Dnyaneshwar Molak, PMC joint municipal commissioner, said that testing centres near the schools are allocated for special testing of teaching and non-teaching staff.

“Most staff are vaccinated with both doses. RT-PCR are an additional measure to ensure safety of the student. Teachers and non-teaching staff are giving priority while testing and their results will be made readily available,” said Molak.

Safety measures

The Covid safety protocol that should be followed by schools:

Thermal scanning, thermometer, pulse oximeter should be used at school premises

School transport should be sanitised

Compulsory RT-PCR test should be done by teaching and non-teaching staff within 48 hours before reopening of schools. The test result should be submitted at the schools. Every 15 days, the staff should be tested again

Teachers should be completely vaccinated before reopening of schools

Physical distance should be maintained in classrooms and staff rooms

Markings should be made to ensure students are standing at least six feet apart. Covid protocols signboards and notices should be put up across the campus

Written consent by parents

School premises should be sanitised at least twice a day. School transport should also be sanitised at least twice a day

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Monday, December 06, 2021