New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: The Ministry of Education on Monday issued fresh guidelines for the reopening of schools and educational institutions from October 15 in a 'graded manner'. Releasing the guidelines, Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that state union territory (UT) governments are allowed to take a decision regarding reopening of schools from October 15.

In a series of tweets, Nishank said that states and union territories will have to prepare the standard operating procedures (SOPs) "regarding health and safety precaution" for reopening of schools based on the SOP to be issued by the Ministry of Education.

However, Nishank noted that the states and UTs adopt or adapt the SOPs as per local context and requirements, adding that the guidelines for reopening of schools are comprised of two parts one is SOP for health, hygiene, and safety and another is learning with physical and social distancing.

"Academic aspects related to teaching-learning and assessment with a focus on learning outcomes are redefined including revision of academic calendar and preparation of comprehensive academic plan. An alternative academic calendar of NCERT may be followed. Assessment should be learner-friendly and involving different formats rather than pen-paper test. No assessment till upto 2-3 weeks of school reopening and Use of ICT and online learning shall continue to be encouraged," the guidelines noted.

The guidelines further read that precautions should be taken for preparing and serving midday meal in schools while the alternative academic calendar of NCERT can be followed.

It also stated that the SOP for health, hygiene and safety include preparation the schools have to do before reopening such as proper cleaning and sanitisation of all parts of the school, provision for hand wash and disinfection, seating plan, safe transport plan, staggering of time table and classes, precaution at entry and exit points, and arrangements for safe residential stay at hostels and sensitisation of students, teachers, school authorities, school management committees, and parents.

The SOP also provides for safety protocols to the followed after the opening of schools such as maintaining physical/social distancing norms by keeping a minimum 6 feet gap between each other, wearing of masks at all times in the classroom, laboratory and play areas, maintaining hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and screening before entry into the school and students may attend schools only with the written consent of parents.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma