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Schools reopen after a gap of 11 months

Schools reopen after a gap of 11 months
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Kolkata: The schools across the state are taking the best possible measures to adhere to the COVID health protocols as they are all set to welcome back students of class IX, X, XI and XII from Friday after a gap of 11 months. Schools across the state had been closed since the third week of March as a preventive measure to stop the spread of COVID.

"Detailed guidelines for reopening schools adhering to the new normal norms post COVID have been sent well in advance to the school authorities. Physical distancing, wearing of masks, sanitisation of the classrooms and toilets, use of hand sanitisers form an integral part of the guidelines. The guardians have to give their consent to the school authorities for allowing their respective wards. The safety and security of the students, teachers and non-teaching staffs are our priority and instructions have been sent to the schools so that the health related protocols are not compromised with," state Education minister Partha Chatterjee said.

The students need to wash their hands with soap immediately after entering the school or pass through the sanitising gates. Wearing of masks is mandatory, while gloves and caps are optional. The school authorities will not allow any visitor or guardian inside the school and ensure maintaining of physical distancing.

Any sort of gathering will be disallowed during entry and exit of the students. All the schools have made arrangements for temperature checking with thermal gun. If any student is found suffering from fever, cough or cold, then he or she will be sent back to school for necessary medical follow up.

"We have allotted specific duties to each and every teacher. The do's and don't's have been circulated in WhatsApp groups of the classes. Flex, banners and signages have been put up on the school premises to constantly remind the students of the guidelines. Awareness messages will be addressed to the students over the microphone from time-to-time," said a senior teacher of the government-aided Beltala Girls High School.

No specific time has been allotted for the tiffin period. One of the periods from 1.30pm to 2.30 pm has been allotted for having tiffins. Students can have their tiffins within 15 to 20 minutes under the supervision of the teacher assigned for that particular period.

"The classes will commence with 50 per cent students' strength per class on alternate days. The students have been divided into two groups. They have been informed about it by the respective class teachers. The class routine has been restructured to accommodate more lab classes for class XII," said Joyoti Chaudhuri, Principal of DPS Ruby Park.

Jesuit Schools like St. Xaviers Collegiate and St. Lawernce are not opening up from Friday. Residential schools like Narendrapur Ramkrishna Mission, Purulia Ramkrishna Mission etc are opening up and students and teachers have been asked to submit COVID negative report.

West Bengal Government School Teachers' Association General Secretary Saugata Basu welcomed the move but stated that attendance on alternate days would have been a safer option.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal Contract Carriage Owners' and Operators' Association (WBCCOOA) has set some standard operating procedure (SOP) for the students and workers availing their services.

Students or school staff availing the services must wear masks. Drivers, Helpers and Attendants will also wear mask, gloves and head cap (use and throw) during the trip. WBCCOOA members (school bus owners) have been urged to keep thermal gun inside the vehicle. Buses will be sanitised regularly before and after every trip for safety of students.

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