New Delhi: The government-run Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) have announced guidelines for the partial reopening of its branches, with students beginning to return to schools Monday after the six-month Covid-19 shutdown.
The guidelines issued by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education, broadly reiterate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) announced by the Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry earlier this month.
However, the issuance of guidelines doesn’t mean KVs across India are reopening. As with other schools, their reopening will be decided by the administrations of the state or union territory they are based in.
“All schools have been asked to follow the same SOP through a letter that was sent across on 18 September. However, the date of reopening of schools will only be decided according to the state/union territory (UTs) government orders,” said a senior official of KVS.
While the central government has allowed students of classes 9-12 to visit schools for guidance from teachers from Monday, voluntarily and with parents’ consent, only a handful of states/UTs are going ahead with it. Others have decided to wait longer amid a surge in coronavirus cases around India.
The KVS has dispatched the guidelines through letters marked to its branches in different regions.
ThePrint accessed a copy of the letter addressed to the Delhi KV region. According to the guidelines, the KVs will have to designate different days for students of different grades to avoid crowding on the premises.
Students of classes 11 and 12 will be called in Monday, those in Class 10 on Wednesday and Thursday, and Class 9 pupils on Friday and Saturday, the letter says.
Teachers, the letter states, may be called for classes in line with the time table for the day. Since it’s not mandatory for students to return to schools, teachers will be required to conduct online lessons from the classroom itself to cater to those who choose to stay home.
“These teachers will take online classes in the classroom itself in front of the students attending the physical classes. Hence, arrangement for taking online class will be done at the school level itself,” the letter adds.
Lessons at KV are usually conducted in two shifts to cater to the multiple sections of each class. However, the new guidelines advise that students from both shifts come in at the same time for a five-hour duration, from 8 am to 1 pm. Schools have been asked to make adequate space, in line with Covid-19 prevention SoP, to accommodate students.
The letter also asks schools to pay special attention to students who may not have been able to keep up with the digital classes, which have helped the curriculum move along during the lockdown.
“Students who do not have devices… due to which they may have missed online classes may be more in focus,” the letter adds.
For such students, the letter states, “parents/guardian may be contacted” and counselled to send them to school”. “Any backlog in their studies may be cleared by teachers after their online classes,” it adds.
Clear instructions have been given that no student will be allowed to enter schools unless they have written consent from parents. Students and teachers have been asked to wear masks and follow proper social distancing norms while in class, and when they exit the school premises.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.