THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a 20-month gap, schools across the state reopened on Monday in strict adherence to Covid protocol. In the first two weeks, classes will be held only in the forenoon session for students of Classes 1 to 7 and classes 10 and 12. Schools will start functioning in full swing from November 15. Owing to heavy rain in most parts of the state and due to the prevailing Covid situation, most of the students are continuing with digital and online education at home.
Owing to Covid-related restrictions, 'praveshanolsavam' - the function to welcome newcomers to schools - was a low key affair this year compared to previous years. Classes have been arranged in such a manner that only 25% of the students attend classes on a given day if the total number of students in a school is more than 1,000. Each batch has been further divided into smaller batches to avoid crowding. For Classes 1 to 7, only two students will be seated in a bench. Arrangements have been made in such a manner that each batch attends classes for three consecutive days a week followed by the next batch.
The General Education Department has not made attendance compulsory in the initial weeks. Differently abled children and those with fever and related symptoms have been asked to stay away from schools for the time being. Students who are primary contacts of Covid patients or are undergoing quarantine and whose adult family members have not been fully vaccinated have also been asked not to attend offline classes.
Majority of the school staff have been fully vaccinated. A small number of teaching and non teaching staff who have not yet taken two doses of vaccine have been advised not to come to school. The government had also insisted that staff in vehicles ferrying children to school should also be fully vaccinated.
Schools had undergone a through santisation drive over the past week. The government had also earmarked special funds for procuring masks, sanitisers and hand wash facilities in schools. Sick rooms have been set up in schools and services of healthcare workers have also been ensured.