Schools all set to welcome kids back; safety measures top priority

 This year, in addition to grades 1–12, the pre-primary section is permitted to attend the school. It is necessary for schools to properly adhere to all SOPs.

Following the official circular released by the BMC Education Department on January 20, in response to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's decision, schools throughout the city have started preparations again for resuming their schools and welcoming students back to campuses.

This year, in addition to grades 1–12, the pre-primary section is permitted to attend the school. It is necessary for schools to properly adhere to all SOPs. Consent forms from parents are required, and those who do not want to send their kids can opt for online mode.



The school authorities are assuring parents about their student's safety is a top priority for the school's reopening. Prajodh Rajan, Group CEO & Co-Founder, Lighthouse Learning said, "We have assimilated best practices from state and central government guidelines, WHO and UNICEF safe school resumption guidelines to determine our resumption protocols that will safeguard all our students, teachers, and administrative staff. We also have a safety advisory panel to make sure that all necessary protocols are in place for safe resumption."

"Additionally, we have developed a 3S approach to safe school resumption emphasizing Savdhani (Precautions), Sayyam (Patience), and Swasthya (Health). We have partnered with leading international hygiene, safety, and security specialists to ensure that our protocols are comprehensive. We are following stringent audit policies in our campuses for adherence to COVID protocols. We will also be ensuring that no one would be given access to school premises without undertaking the appropriate measures. We will be allowing only fully vaccinated staff and teachers to attend our pre-schools and schools. All staff is required to follow proper Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which have been communicated to them well in advance. We will initially run our physical classes in small batches to ensure safety and hygiene," he added.



Schools must now plan ahead of time and ensure the protection of their students. After the government's decision, consent forms are circulated again. Parents are a little concerned about sending. Fr. Francis Swamy, Principal, Campion School, Mumbai said, "We will begin our physical classes on January 27 since we need to clean and sanitize our schools. We have already sent the consent form to the parents and are hoping to hear back from them by January 24."

He also added, "We will begin classes in phases, beginning with higher grades and then progressively shifting to lower grades following a two-day break. Parents gain confidence, and students' numbers will progressively increase when physical classes are conducted. Our PTA is very proactive; this committee comprises doctors and medical officers who will physically monitor the situation on campus and ensure that everything is as per policy, and SOPs before informing parents. This will result in big confidence among the parents. It is always a collaborative effort. "



According to Rajendra Pradhan, President of D.S. High School, "Basically, we intend to begin class 10th on the 24th and all of the other classes by Thursday. Parents are already confident in the working of our school. We'll operate it at half capacity. We'll call them in for two sessions on the same day since we don't want them to miss anything right now. Many concerns, such as writing, socializing, and reading, will not be resolved if we keep it on alternate days. We have already circulated the consent forms, and the responses are very high, over 90%."



Parents are relieved to hear from schools that are reopening fully. A parent, Moneshi Shah, stated, "My school has been communicating with us since the beginning, and I am overjoyed that they will resume on the 24th. They contacted us for a school visit last year, and we are completely confident that the school is taking all necessary safety precautions. They are beginning with the youngest children and progress to the older children. We've been told about everything we are supposed to send with our kids, so we're feeling quite comfortable about sending my child."

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