Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Nagaland government issues revised SOP as primary schools set to resume regular classes

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 16, 2021 10:06 pm

Our Correspondent
Kohima, March 16 (EMN): Days head of the re-opening of primary schools for classes 1 to 5, Nagaland government on Tuesday issued a revised standard operating procedure (SOP) on preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 throughout the state.

Regular classes for students of classes 1 to 5 will begin in the state on March 22.

“This SOP outlines various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken to prevent spread of Covid-19 when schools resume normal functioning for students of classes 1 to 5. The measures need to be observed by teachers, employees and students at all times,” the order issued by the office of the chief secretary stated.  

The precautionary measures included physical distancing of at least six feet, mandatory use of face covers/masks, frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty, and use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible, it said.

Respiratory etiquettes such as covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing with a tissue, handkerchief or flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly are to be strictly followed, it said.

“Spitting shall be strictly prohibited and installation and use of Aarogya Setu App may be advised wherever feasible,” the order added.

It stated that the seating arrangement must ensure a distance of six feet between chairs, desks etc. Meanwhile, schools should prepare alternate day routine for classes. Schools should frame the alternate day routine as per the enrolment in each class and the infrastructure facilities available. Supplementary online learning is encouraged, it said.

Only those schools outside the containment zones can reopen. Students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend schools and they should also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.

SOP before opening up of schools

Prior to resumption of classes, all work areas intended for teaching, demonstrations etc., including laboratories, other common utility areas should be sanitised with 1% sodium hypochlorite solution, with particular attention to frequently touched surfaces, the order directed.

Schools that were used as quarantine centres were instructed to properly sanitise and deep-clean.

“Instead of biometric attendance, alternate arrangements for contactless attendance should be made by the school administration. Teachers and students must maintain physical distancing of six feet apart, wherever feasible and scheduling of activities and seating plan should be made accordingly. Further, hand washing facilities along with provision of soap should be ensured.

“For ensuring queue management, inside and outside the premises, specific markings on the floor with a gap of 6 feet may be made. Similarly, physical distancing shall also be maintained in staff rooms, office areas (including reception area), and other places (mess, libraries, cafeterias, etc.),” the order read.

Weather permitting, outdoor spaces may be utilised for conducting teacher-student interactions, keeping in view the safety and security of students and physical distancing protocols. It directed schools to strictly prohibit assemblies, sports and events that can lead to overcrowding. Lockers of students will remain in use as long as physical distancing and regular disinfection is maintained, it said. 

Schools have been asked to display state helpline numbers and numbers of local health authorities etc., to teachers, students and employees to contact in case of any emergency.

The temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30° C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate. Swimming pool (wherever applicable) should remain closed, it added.

“All employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the students.

“Appropriate back-up stock of personal protection items like face covers/masks, visors, hand sanitisers etc., should be made available by school managements to teachers and employees,” it read.

It asked the schools to provide adequate supply of thermal guns, alcohol wipes or 1% sodium hypochlorite solutions and disposable paper towels, soap, IEC materials on Covid. It also said that pulse oximeter to check oxygen saturation levels of any symptomatic person must be arranged and ensure availability of sufficient covered dustbins and trashcans.

SOP after opening of schools

The government has directed schools install hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser/hand washing facilities) and thermal screening provisions at the entrance and multiple gates; if feasible, use them for entry and exit.

“Only asymptomatic persons (teachers, employees and students) to be allowed in the premises. If a teacher /employee /student is found to be symptomatic, they should be referred to nearest health centre. Posters on preventive measures about Covid-19 must be displayed prominently.

“Proper crowd management in the parking lots, in corridors and in elevators – duly following physical distancing norms should be organised. Entry of visitors should be strictly regulated/restricted,” read the order.

“Staggering of activities to be done, with separate timings/slots, to allow for adequate physical distancing and disinfection of classroom premises. The teaching faculty must ensure that they themselves and students wear masks throughout the conduct of the teaching/guidance activities. Sharing of items like notebook, pens/pencil, eraser, water bottle etc. amongst student should not be allowed,” it added.

Conduct of skill-based training

For practical activities in laboratories, maximum capacity per session based on redesigned spaces, should be planned and scheduled accordingly; ensure that the equipment, particularly the frequently touched surfaces are disinfected before and after each use, the order stated.

It also directed the schools to ensure a floor area of 4m per person is available for working on equipment/workstation; and ensure that members sanitise their hands/ wash with soap before and after using training equipment. For such purpose hand sanitiser or hand washing facility should be provided at workstations/simulation labs etc. Cafeteria and mess facility, if any within the premises, shall remain closed, it added.

If transportation facility is being managed by the school, wearing of masks, proper physical distancing, and regular sanitisation of transport vehicles (with 1% sodium hypochlorite) should be ensured, the order said. 

Cleaning and regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, chairs, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) must be made mandatory in all classrooms, laboratories, lockers, parking areas, other common areas etc, before beginning of classes and at the end of the day.

Teaching materials, computers, laptops, printers, should be disinfected with 70% alcohol wipes and deep-cleaning of all drinking and hand washing stations, washrooms and lavatories shall be ensured, it said.

Students and employees have been advised to dispose of used face covers and masks in separate covered bins placed in classrooms, workstations and other common areas. The same may remain stored in the bins for three days and disposed of as dry general solid waste after cutting or shredding. Students should not be involved in any of the cleaning activities for health safety, said the directive.

It also asked the schools to create awareness to make sure that students do not gather when leaving the school and in their free time. Sensitise students, parents, teachers and employees to create awareness on Covid-appropriate behaviour, as detailed under generic measures above. If a student, teacher or employee is sick, they should not come to the school and follow necessary protocols in this regard, it added.

Ensure regular counselling is done for students and teachers reporting mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It is advisable that teachers, school counsellors and school healthcare workers should work in unison to ensure emotional safety of students.

In case of a student, teacher or employee developing symptoms, one must place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others and inform parents or guardians as the case may be. Patient will remain isolated while wearing a mask or face cover till such time they are examined by a doctor. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the State or District Helpline, read the order.

“A risk assessment would be undertaken by the district task force and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, their contacts and need for disinfection. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive,” it added.

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Mar 16, 2021 10:06:17 pm