New Delhi: No morning assembly, no seminars and no sports events, this is how schools across the country are likely to function once they reopen post the Covid-19 lockdown.
Schools and colleges across the country have been closed since the second week of March and while there is no clarity on when they will reopen, the Modi government has begun working on a plan that will be put in place once students are back in classrooms, ThePrint has learnt.
According to senior officials in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been tasked with developing a post-lockdown plan for schools.
Confirming the development, NCERT Director Hrushikesh Senapathy said, “MHRD has tasked NCERT with formulating guidelines for schools, which are being worked on. This will include directions for various stakeholders including school management, teachers, parents and students.”
No social activities for a year
According to sources, some of the guidelines that are being worked out include banning social activities such as seminars, sports events and even assembly gatherings for upto a year. The safety guidelines will be made available to schools before the government decides to order their re-opening.
“There are a number of things that we will have to look at … how to maintain distance between students in school buses, while they are sitting in the classrooms and even when they are using the washroom, because a large number of students use a single washroom in schools,” a source told ThePrint.
“The bigger challenge will be to ensure the younger children maintain distance; they usually sit close and mingle a lot more than the older ones. The safety guidelines that we will form will include all these things,” the source added.
Experts are also discussing running the schools in two shifts, a practise already followed in some states. NCERT experts have also sought data from different states on the number of teachers, students and infrastructure in schools to assess if shifts will be possible in the schools.
The idea of having a post lock-down plan was also discussed by the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank during his interaction with education ministers of various states. During the interaction, Nishank asked states to keep a post-lockdown plan ready for schools, keeping in mind all norms of social distancing.