The government issues SOPs for the partial reopening of schools and universities
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NEW DELHI: As part of the gradual release of activities, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued Standard Operating Instructions (SOPs) on Tuesday for the partial reopening of secondary and higher secondary schools. It also posted the preventive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in skill or entrepreneurship training institutions, higher education institutions running doctoral courses, and postgraduate studies.

The SOPs are based on the activities authorized by the Ministry of the Interior under “Unlock 4”, the order of which was issued on August 29th.

According to the SOP for the reopening of the school, which is to come into force on September 21, 2020, pupils from grade IX onwards may “voluntarily” attend schools in order to receive advice from their teachers.

Students are allowed to attend schools with the written consent of their parents / guardians, and visits and interaction between teachers and students must be organized on a tiered basis.

The SOP for Higher Education stated that entrepreneurship training in National Skill Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes, Short Term Training Centers registered with the National Skill Development Corporation or State Skills Development Missions or other ministries of the Government of India or the State Government of the National Institute , Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), and their training providers.

For higher education institutions conducting doctoral theses or technical and professional programs that require laboratory / experimental work, this is permitted by the Department of Higher Education in consultation with MHA.

Both SOPs described various general precautionary measures to be taken in addition to the specific measures to be taken if the schools allow students, including physical distancing of at least two meters, mandatory use of face coverings / masks, frequent hand washing and self-monitoring of health of all and reporting of diseases and spitting ban among others.

Only schools and universities outside the security zones are allowed to open. In addition, students, teachers and employees living in security zones are not allowed to visit the school / facilities and are advised not to visit areas that fall in security zones.

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