With schools in Tamil Nadu for classes IX to XII all set to reopen from September 1, the state health department has issued a standard protocol wherein all the students are to be screened within a week of reopening. The SOP also made it mandatory that all the teachers and school staff be vaccinated. The students who are eligible to take vaccines must also be inoculated, a statement from the state health department on Wednesday said.
Schools have been asked to disinfect areas such as water tanks, kitchens, canteen, washrooms, libraries, laboratories and transport vehicles. Frequently touched surfaces such as desks and benches and other equipment also must be disinfected, as per standard protocol.
The SOP also said that standard distance has to be maintained in classes and chair or benches have to be kept wide apart - at least 6 feet distance from each other. Temporary spaces or bigger outdoor spaces can be used for conducting classes. If weather permits classes can be held outdoor.
Temporary spaces and larger rooms like laboratories and libraries, computer rooms, or auditoriums can be used to conduct classes to maintain a safe distance. Social distancing norms have to be followed in staff rooms, canteens, and other areas of the schools.
Schools can be run in shifts, 50 per cent of students should be allowed to attend school every alternate day to ensure social distancing norms. The schools are not allowed to conduct functions or celebrations and strict SOPs have to be adhered to. Assemblies can be conducted in their respective classrooms, outdoor spaces, or halls under the guidance of the teachers. Signs and markings must be made in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, outside washrooms, handwashing areas, school kitchen, bus parking areas as well as entry and exit to schools.
Covid appropriate behaviour must be communicated to teachers, students, parents, staff, and members of management committees through online or offline modes. Pamphlets, public announcements can be made on Covid appropriate behaviour like hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, and safe distancing.
Tamil Nadu School education minister, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi told IANS, "We will be taking utmost care for the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff members and all the SOPs as far as Covid is concerned have to be maintained as and when the schools reopen for students of higher classes."