Schools across the state were closed since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and educational institutions had been conducting online classes during the period. The generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19, Sinha said. These measures need to be observed by all including teachers, employees and students at all times. The government SOP states that physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be followed as far as feasible, while use of face covers/masks would be mandatory. It has also directed frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible, it said while also emphasising on respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. The sop also prohibits spitting around.
The sop has also asked the school authorities to specifically ensure seating arrangement to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc. and also prepare alternate day routine for classes as per the enrolment in each class and the infrastructure facilities available. Schools outside the containment zones only shall be allowed to open, said Sinha, adding that students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend schools. Students, teachers and employees shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.
Assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding are strictly prohibited under the SOP, he said. The schools should display state helpline numbers and also numbers of local health authorities to teachers, students and employees to contact in case of any emergency, he added.