Detailed guidelines being readied for reopening schools, colleges, says HRD
The Union human resource development (HRD) ministry is readying elaborate guidelines to be followed when schools and universities reopen and are likely to include tie-ups with health facilities, screening mechanisms and protocols in case a student reports even a mild symptom, officials aware of the matter said. The guidelines are also likely to seek blended learning with some students attending classes from home and will also relate to issues like hygiene in hostels, kitchens, and common areas.
The Centre on Saturday said educational institutions, which were closed in March when the lockdown to check the Covid-19 pandemic was imposed, will be opened only after discussions with states and Union Territories. A decision in this regard is expected to be taken in July after consultations with parents and teachers as well.
The Centre said the educational institutes will be reopened in a “phased” manner outside containment zones.
HRD ministry officials said they will finalise the guidelines after discussions with the health and home ministries. According to the Home Ministry order, the health ministry will prepare standard operating procedures in this regard.
“It is an issue involving the safety of children and other students. Protocols have to be set. What should be a school’s response, say if a child reports a mild headache or a fever. What should be the guidelines for residential schools? Transport mechanism, regular school activities, each and every aspect has to be examined before a comprehensive framework is ready,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Officials said there will be an emphasis on ensuring tie-ups with hospitals as well as adequate quarantine facilities, especially in boarding schools.
The National Council for Education, Research and Training has suggested shifts for students, curtailing group activities involving use of common instruments or equipment.
Officials said social distancing will have to be maintained when students return to schools. For hostels, there will be a greater distance in dormitories and only two students may share a room, they added.