The Uttarakhand government has allowed the reopening of schools in the state for 10th and 12th standard students starting November 2. The MHA in its Unlock 5.0 guidelines had given state  governments the flexibility to take a decision in reopening schools after October 15 in a graded manner.

Detailed guidelines to reopen schools were issued by the central government. These include standard operating procedures (SOP) like the duration of the classes, what activities are allowed and how social distancing will be maintained.

Education Minister of Uttarakhand Arvind Pandey said, “The government has taken into account all aspects of COVID-19 precautions in the SOP issued for opening the school.”

“From November 2, classes for 10th and 12th standards will start, but the students will be allowed to enter the schools only after written permission from parents,” he added. Uttarakhand is the latest among several states to continue in-person schooling.

According to the guidelines, the schools will have to follow strict sanitisation of school premises before and after classes daily. They will also have to arrange sanitisers and thermal screenings for students and all staff.

Proper social distancing should be ensured while students arrive at and leave school and it is mandatory for all students and teachers to wear face masks when entering and on the premises.

Usage of multiple gates at the time of entry and exit has been advised and earmarking classes for each gate can be done to avoid crowding. Schools have also asked not to encourage organising of in-person events to ensure a smaller crowd buildup.

The students will be taught in the school premises but no homework shall be given and revision work would continue through the online medium.

As per a Times of India report, the SOPs also included guidelines for boarding schools which state that a COVID-19 negative report has to be submitted by the staff and student to the chief education officer of the respective district 72 hours before the reopening of the school. If a boarding student is staying back at their homes, it is not compulsory for them to join. The boarding school shall provide the online school facility for such students.

The decision was taken by the state Cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on October 14. The Cabinet agreed with feedback from district magistrates, made in consultation with district education officers and students’ parents.

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