Between September 1 and November 14, the central government has formulated a proposal to open schools and colleges in a phase-wise pattern, the guidelines which are expected to be announced at the end of this month including the final unlock directions.
According to the rules, students from class 10 to 12 will be required to attend school for the first 15 days. If Class 10 has four sections, half of the students in Sections A and C will be expected to come on different days, and the others on the remaining days.
The length of time, the report says, will be limited to 5-6 hours, 2-3 hours of which would need physical attendance. The study reports that all schools are expected to run in phases from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., with a one-hour break for sanitation in between. They will be asked to run with 33 per cent of teaching staff and pupils, according to the instructions.
The techniques of this program were addressed by the group of secretaries connected to the Council of Ministers responsible for COVID-19 in the nation.
Sources told local media that while on 31 August the regulations for this will be published along with other unlock guidelines, the decision on official opening will be decided to leave to states.
“The state, where caseloads have been low, have also expressed their keenness to bring back students of senior classes,” a senior official told the media.
While a survey done by the school education department in July had shown that guardians are not very keen to take their children back to school, state governments have claimed that lower income section students are suffering from the shutdown.
At this point, the government is allegedly not in favor of calling students from pre-primary and primary students to school. Once physical attendance for class 10-12 has been implemented, classes 6-9 will be initiated for limited hours.
“We have studied the way countries like Switzerland have brought back children to school safely. A similar model would be employed in India,” the official quoted above said.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan had also pointed out in an interview to the Times of India that it is now critical to assess how and when to open schools. “Disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn. That puts schools as one of the high priorities in the coming days,” she said.
Swaminathan warned that there are multiple risks involved in keeping children out of school such as abuse, child marriage, violence at home.
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