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Bangladesh’s school closure longest in the world: UNESCO

WB govt issues guidelines to reopen schools

February 5, 2021
Mita Mukherjee

The West Bengal government on Thursday issued detailed guidelines for reopening of schools in the state.

The 28-page guidelines contain detailed instructions on the measures need to be taken by schools for holding physical classes in the new normal state and what teachers, students and parents will have to follow.  

Some of the instructions given to students include: “Wear mask, Wash your hand frequently with soap and water if sanitiser is not available, Maintain social distance everywhere. No one should be within one meter from you, Do not share food or drinking water with your friend or anyone, Do not share exercise books, copies, bags, or any other belonging of your friend, Avoid wearing metal accessories like rings, chains, bangles and amulets.”

 Schools have been asked not to have assembly.

“There will be no assembly for prayer. Prayers shall be done in respective classes accompanied by the class teachers,” according to the guidelines.

West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee had on Tuesday said that schools in Bengal would reopen from February 12 for in-person teaching for students of Classes IX to XII.

 The guidelines published by the state school education department state that though government offices and other organisations had reopened, the educational institutions had  remained closed to ensure the safety of children and youth starting from primary to college and university level.

“Nonetheless, acknowledging the worldwide threat of COVID-19 and at the same time appreciating the need of education as a continuous process, the School Education Department, Government of West Bengal has endeavoured to frame a comprehensive guideline(administrative and academic) to impart safe and healthy institutional education. Keeping in mind the guidelines issued by the Department of Health& Family Welfare, Govt. of West Bengal, these guidelines have been framed to help the school authorities and supervising officials face the challenges with careful and essential planning. It is imperative for all stakeholders to follow the guidelines before and after the institutions open, to maintain healthy and hygienic conditions in the schools. Unless all stakeholders comply with the mandates of this guideline, the aim of safe classroom teaching will not be achieved,” the guidelines stated.

Schools will have to ensure that every classroom, teachers’ room, corridor, toilet, drinking water spaces, ramps, handrail, staircases are sanitized whenever it is necessary, the document said.   

“COVID norms should be maintained in gateway, common spaces, corridors, drinking water spaces etc. so as to prevent crowding of students. Modified practices and COVID specific signage shall be posted in prominent places to make everybody (including students with special needs) informed,” according to the guidelines.

The seating arrangement to be followed in the classes will have to be in line with the prescribed social-distancing norms.

The guidelines provide some diagrams of model seating arrangement in class.  

Before the start of the teaching sessions, the schools will have to arrange a 10-minute programme on Covid awareness.

Guardians too will have to ensure that they wear masks and maintain social distancing when they bring their wards to school.

Teachers have been asked to be more patient and keep watch on students to make sure that every student wore the mask properly.

No teacher should ask for leave unless there is an extreme emergency, the guidelines said.

“Teacher in the classroom shall keep watch on whether any student not wearing the mask properly. In such an event (s)he shall instantly advise the student to wear the mask properly and stop mishandling it. Teachers need to be more patient and empathetic toward the student as many will still be in a lockdown state of mind and hate to return to studies. Teachers shall not ask for leaves unless under extreme emergency.”

Also read:

WB schools to reopen on Feb 12: Education minister

College, university campuses in Bengal not to reopen immediately: Minister

JNVs can resume for classes 10, 12 in states where schools allowed to reopen: Edu Ministry

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