By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, Feb 23 : With the commencement of nationwide vaccination drive and the falling numbers of active Covid-19 cases, the government has decided to slowly allow schools to re-open. Starting in phases the schools are first re-opening for the students of the 10th and 12th standard and will then be applied to the junior classes.
Subsequently it is essential that precautions for prevention of further spread are taken as seriously as before, the numbers might be dipping but the virus is still lingering and we have to take all possible measures to curb its spread.
With children being one of the most vulnerable category, extra precautions need to be taken by the school authorities, teachers, parents of the students and the students themselves. Basic facts like social distancing, wearing masks, practicing hand hygiene need to be taught and demonstrated to them as the new norms of living.
While calling students back to schools has been allowed by the government, in interest of the safety and health of children the schools must practice:
Hybrid school model — this is a combination of distance/virtual learning and in-person/traditional form of schooling. This involves limiting the number of students that will come to school in one go so that social distancing can be practiced effectively
School authorities to make sure that the building is clean and hygienic — Surfaces and objects (eg. desks and tables) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly
Promote regular and thorough hand-washing with the children and put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace
Teach the children the essence of practicing respiratory hygiene and using a mask to cover the face and the nose
Restrict social events assemblies and even gathering at student canteens and the practice of sharing food
Mandatory thermal screening, no person with slightest of symptoms like fever, cough to be allowed in the premised and should be recommended immediate self-isolation
Inputs from MS Kanwar, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)