On 1st November, all schools will re-open in Kerala after a break of close to two years. School-going students studying in standards 1 to 7 and 10 and 12 will attend school on November 1st. Others will resume classes on November 15th. Colleges in Kerala, however, will reopen by October 4th. As the State gears up to open its educational institutions, they plan to host special counselling sessions, at the school level, for parents and students.
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The stress and fear associated with opening schools are of major concern. In order to educate parents and students, counselling sessions, in association with the Health Department, will be held before schools reopen. Mohammed Hanish, the General Education Secretary, shared, “The government is giving top priority to the safety of students. As the first step, we will conduct counselling sessions at schools online. The concerns of parents and teachers will be addressed.”
Apart from that, they also plan to create awareness online so that parents are aware of how schools will follow COVID protocols so that every student is safe. Hanish added, “Besides, we also plan to hold an awareness campaign for students and teachers. All safety precautions, including strict compliance with Covid protocol, will be ensured. The vaccination of the schoolteachers is nearing completion. A meeting will be held on Thursday with all stakeholders to ensure that the reopening of schools will be done smoothly.”
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The following measures will be taken to ensure a safe environment in schools:
- The maintenance of social distancing will be compulsory, including ensuring that students don’t huddle together. Seating arrangements will be changed in accordance with the social distancing norms.
- The Health Department has suggested that the schools run on 50% capacity, alternating between days. Or, have two shifts with 50% capacity.
- Random COVID checks will take place.
- Students showing symptoms will not be allowed to attend class in schools.
Reopening schools is risky, but many believe that the third wave will less likely affect children as compared to adults. The situation in Kerala is alarming and many have questioned the Government’s decision to reopen schools at this time.