The parents of the students of classes 10 and 12 in Tamil Nadu are preparing to send their kids back to school after the Pongal holidays as the schools across the state are gearing up to open the gates for the students after ten months. The Tamil Nadu government has recently announced that the schools will be resumed for classes 10 and 12 from January 19 with the view of the welfare of these students to prepare for the upcoming board exams.
Following the order of resumption, the Tamil Nadu government has now issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for schools. According to the order issued by Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Shanmugam, the government has advised the schools to keep the online classes as an alternate mode of teaching and students can pick the online classes by submitting a letter to the school with the consent of parents.
In the SOPs, the schools are asked to conduct classes for six days from Monday to Saturday to cover the syllabus in the remaining time as the schools and students are left with two months for the board exams. The schools are directed to conduct classes with not more than 25 students and the schools can also split the students into batches to cover all the students with the SOPs in place. The schools are also asked to permit the students if they opt for online classes.
The SOPs and guidelines include that the students have to attend the schools only with the written consent of their parents. If students are willing to study from home with the consent of the parents, they can be permitted and schools should not enforce physical attendance and attendance must depend entirely on parental consent. All students, teachers, and other staff must wear face masks compulsorily inside and outside the school premises and all students shall be provided with Vitamin and Zinc tablets by the Health Department.
The SOPs had also instructed the schools to adhere to the health and safety protocols before opening the schools. The management of schools should arrange for hand wash facilities along with soap and water, and sanitizers should be provided and the government directed the schools to clean and disinfect their premises including furniture at regular intervals, and the schools are also advised to use alternative arrangement for attendance of teachers and staff instead of biometric attendance.
According to the SOP, the students with co-morbidities, employees at higher risk, older employees, pregnant employees, and employees who are underlying medical conditions should be advised to follow strict precautions, and the schools are also instructed to ensure the availability of key supplies like thermal scanners, disinfectants, soaps, and other essentials and the schools are asked to avoid assemblies, sports, and cultural events and no period of Physical Education shall be allowed while the stakeholders were also asked to observe a minimum of six-feet social distancing at the premises.
The SOP had strictly advised the schools to document the health profiling of the students and staff as the first step on resuming the classes. The schools should collect a self-declaration from the students, teachers, and staff regarding their health condition and they also have to arrange the health check-up sessions by a team of doctors to screen and check the students and teachers. According to the SOP, the schools within containment zones should not be reopened and students and teachers coming from containment zones must subject to undergo quarantine before coming to the school. The government has also permitted the schools to reopen the hostels for the students of classes 10 and 12 and the school education minister said that the re-opening of other classes will be decided later.