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Karnataka school reopening guidelines

August 16, 2021
-Reshma Ravishanker

As Karnataka is all set to open schools for secondary students to attend in-person classes, the state government has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed before and during the commencement of classes IX and X. 

From August 23 onwards, physical classes will begin for half a day in the morning for all schools located in districts with a Covid positivity rate of less than 2%. Decision to call class VIII students to school is yet to be taken. 

It is mandatory for all students to get an approval letter from parents and an undertaking that the child has no symptoms of Covid before attending school. Online classes option must be kept open for those students who do not wish to come to school. 
It is also mandated for students to get water and food from home. Schools can make provision for either hot or boiled (and cooled) water if children want a refill.
Sanitization of premises
School authorities have been directed to sanitize school premises, classrooms, labs, toilets, staff rooms and library with 1% hypochlorite solution one week before commencement of classes and on a regular basis after classes start. 
Social distancing must be ensured at all times
At the school entrance, school authorities must draw squares at a distance of 6 feet and ensure that all possible entrance and exit points are kept open to avoid crowding. Based on the length of the bench, one or two children are to be seated in each and the seat is to be marked and safe distance must be kept between benches. Students must not unnecessarily touch items like the duster, chalk, books etc. and also ensure they do not come in close contact to one another. 
Students must be called in batches
Classes will be held between 10 am and 1.30 pm from Monday to Friday and 10 am to 12.50 pm on Saturdays. The department has suggested that students be called in 8 batches, depending on the strength of the school while ensuring social distance is maintained. Students must be called in small groups of 10-15 and a timetable is to be followed on when the groups are called. Post lunch, classes will be held online for class VIII students until further orders. 
“If any child has cough, fever or running nose, such child is to be isolated, parents must be informed and child sent back. Keep track of child’s health everyday,” the SOP reads. 
Other rules
* Masks mandatory for all staff. Staff above 50 years advised to wear face shield with mask. 
* Ensure social distancing in school buses. 
* Ensure staff have taken at least one dose of vaccine.
* No symptomatic teacher will attend school. Before commencement of classes teachers must carry an negative RTPCR test report not older than 3 days.
* Appoint one teacher as a nodal officer in the school to ensure guidelines are followed.
* No group activities allowed in schools.
* Ensure safe disposal of used masks.
*Discourage sharing books, notes or stationery in school.
* Identify a doctor in the school’s vicinity and keep in touch.
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