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School reopening: After two years, a full-fledged Praveshanolsavam in Kerala

CM to inaugurate state-level event on June 1 | Maintenance and cleaning of schools to be completed by tomorrow

Published: 26th May 2022 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2022 05:36 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After two years of Covid-induced restrictions, the customary fun and excitement associated with the school reopening are set to return to campuses as the institutions reopen for the new academic year on June 1. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the state-level ‘Praveshanolsavam’ welcoming newcomers to schools on June 1. The function at Government HSS, Kazhakoottam here, will begin at 9.30am and will be simultaneously held in schools across the state. Praveshanolsavam, traditionally a colourful event, was carried out as a low-key affair during the past two years due to Covid restrictions.

Briefing reporters about the preparations for school reopening, General Education Minister V Sivankutty said a total of 42.9 lakh students, 1.8 lakh teachers and close to 25,000 non-teaching staff will reach schools on the reopening day. The minister has directed that maintenance, cleaning and sanitisation of schools should be completed by Friday.

School authorities have been asked to ensure that campuses, which remained closed for the past many weeks, are free of snakes and other reptiles and that drinking water sources are thoroughly cleaned. General education department officials have been asked to convene meetings and assess the preparations for school reopening.

“All Covid-related precautions need to be strictly followed in schools. Students, teachers and non-teaching staff should compulsorily wear masks and facilities should be provided to sanitise hands frequently,” the minister said. In the first two weeks after school reopening, arrangements will be made to carry out vaccination of students in schools, in coordination with the nearest healthcare facility. While 81% of students in the 15-17 age group have taken the first dose of Covid vaccine, the rate of second dose of vaccination is 52%. For children in the 12-14 age group, 40% have received the first dose while 11% have taken the second dose, he added. 

Textbooks and uniform
A total of 4.88 crore textbooks are needed for the 2022-23 academic year and their printing and distribution are being carried out in three phases, the minister said. The distribution of textbooks will be carried out through 14 district hubs, 3,312 societies and 13,964 schools. The textbooks for students in Classes I to VIII are being distributed free of cost. A total of 9.58 lakh students in 7,719 schools will be provided handloom uniform material free of cost. The distribution of over 42 lakh metres of uniform cloth will be completed by June 1, the minister said.

The final version of the school manual, which aims to bring uniformity in the functioning of schools, will be published on May 30. Draft master plans have been prepared for each school and these will be finalised taking into account local characteristics.  After revising the higher secondary exam manual after a gap of 16 years, the government is engaged in bringing out a similar manual for SSLC exams which is expected to be out before the next Class X board exams, he said.

NEW SCHOOL BUILDINGS
As part of the General Education Protection Campaign, another set of 75 school buildings are set to be inaugurated next week, Sivankutty said. The second Pinarayi Vijayan government had earlier inaugurated 145 schools that were built or renovated using KIIFB funds. The chief minister will inaugurate the 75 new school buildings as part of the state-level function at Government VHSS, Vattiyoorkavu, on May 30. A total of Rs 130 crore was spent on the project, the minister added.

Gearing up for reopening
Key highlights of circular from director of general education

 Complete all maintenance works, including painting, in schools by May 27
 Pre-monsoon cleaning activities to be carried out on school campuses
 Rid campuses of snakes, reptiles; thoroughly clean drinking water sources
 Safety of students to be ensured in schools where construction work is on
 District-level meetings to be held to assess preparedness for reopening
 Meeting of staff council, PTA, school managing committees to be held
 Involve representatives of various government agencies in school-level meetings
 Prevent traffic congestion; ensure proper parking on school reopening day
 Remove all publicity material such as flags and festoons from school premises
 Police clearance certificate mandatory for staff of school vehicles 
 Checks in shops near schools to prevent sale of narcotic substances
 Teachers to inform parents if students do not turn up in class
 Remove precarious tree branches, electric lines over schools
 Fitness certificate of schools from LSG concerned mandatory
 



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