The civic body has made consent letters from parents mandatory for children to attend classes in schools. One student should be seated per bench to maintain social distancing, the guidelines say.
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to keep a close watch on schools under its jurisdiction to ensure that they follow Covid-19 guidelines even as it allowed them to reopen on Monday.
“We will be constantly monitoring the functioning of all schools in our jurisdiction to ensure that standard operating guidelines are followed strictly,” PCMC deputy municipal commissioner Sandeep Khot told The Indian Express Sunday. Pimpri-Chinchwad has 282 schools, including civic and private ones.
PCMC said its inspectors will visit schools on a daily basis and find out whether Covid-19 norms are followed or not by the school administration. Officials said action would mean closing down the school for a specific time.
In his guidelines, municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil said classroom learning for classes from 8 to 12 can start on October 4 (Monday) by following government guidelines and SOP. PCMC has, however, made consent letters from parents mandatory for children to attend classes in schools. One student should be seated per bench to maintain social distancing, the guidelines say.
The schools have to instruct teaching and non-teaching staff to undergo mandatory RT-PCR tests, not older than 48 hours. Also, they will have to do an RT-PCR test every 15 days regardless of vaccination status.
The PCMC guidelines say schools should ensure the availability of thermometers, pulse oximeters, disinfectants, soaps and water. The schools have been told to sanitise school vehicles twice a day, while classrooms and toilets should be sanitised frequently. The schools have been told to put up posters highlighting the use of masks. Separate exit and entry points should be made available and relevant information should be displayed. While in a queue, children have to maintain six feet distance and necessary information about this should be put up on the school premises.
The guidelines, however, do not mention the number of hours schools should be run initially. Rajendra Singh, who heads the Independent English School Association, said, “we are yet to receive any guidelines from PCMC. However, we have told over 100 private schools which are our members to initially start the school for two-three hours and gradually increase the duration.” PCMC said the government guidelines do not mention anything about the timings. “Schools should be reopened like it is done when the academic year starts in June,” Khot said.
“We have urged schools to understand the emotional state of mind of the students. They should not rush into teaching the syllabus. Teachers should interact and find out how much the students were able to learn from the online method. Teachers should boost the confidence and comfort levels of the students,” he said.
Singh said they have asked the government officials to make it compulsory for schools to ensure that their students straightaway go home after school hours. “It is observed that after school is over, children go to tuition centres which are crammed with students in a smaller space. Besides, they visit malls or marketplaces along with their parents. The government should make it a rule that children should go home straight away and not roam,” he said.
Singh said the schools should ensure only 20 students are present in each classroom.
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