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State govt releases SOP for reopening of schools

Chennai: A detailed list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been shared in accordance with the Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to resume in-person classes for students of grades 9th-12th from September 1. The Health Department has been instructed to coordinate with all schools (government, government-aided, and private) to make sure reopening follows the guidelines.

As per the SOPs, there must be a minimum distance of six feet between students seated in a room, or one student per bench is the recommendation, with the same six feet distance between students. There is even the suggestion that classes be conducted outdoors if the weather is pleasant. To ensure safe passage at gates, staggering of entry and exit times and lane provision have been suggested.

In regards to occupancy, it has been recommended that the timetables for different classes be staggered/reduced. The odd-even formula for classes, running schools in shifts, and 50% attendance have also been mentioned. In the case of small classrooms, it has been suggested that classes take place in larger areas, such as libraries, labs, etc.

Schools have been urged not to conduct events where COVID-19 protocols cannot be adhered to, functions and celebrations must be avoided. However, the school assembly can take place in open areas. There has been a recommendation for thorough cleaning and disinfection of classrooms, furniture, equipment, labs, canteens, in addition to providing non-contact thermometers, sanitizers and hand-washing facilities.

Teachers and students living in containment zones have been instructed to refrain from attending instruction on-site until the zone is denotified. Additionally, high-risk employees (aged, pregnant, with medical complications) have been asked to take extra precautions.

In response to looming fears of a third wave of COVID-19, states have taken extra precautions in resuming high school. Furthermore, vaccination has not been made available or authorized for anyone under the age of 18. According to Tamil Nadu’s latest Unlock Guidelines, the government claims that health experts had advised it to resume physical education classes for students of classes 9 to 12 from September 1 (tentative proposal). Additionally, the Government emphasized that online learning has resulted in a huge disparity and divide since many students cannot attend online classes.


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