United Academy

Framework for Re-opening Schools Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Edusanjal

January 19, 2021
Last updated July 15, 2021
KMC Lalitpur

The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected our life on a huge scale. The educational sector of Nepal has also not been left untouched by it. Since March 18, 2020, the schools have been shut down completely in an effort to limit the spread of Coronavirus.

But life can't go on a halt forever. When the pandemic was on the rise, most schools and colleges were used as quarantines and isolation centers. On July 27, 2020, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology was directed to bring out the framework and measures to reopen the schools by the Council of Ministers.

On October 8, 2020, the ministry received approval to resume teaching in schools by adopting a suitable modality, including turn-by-turn shifts in the least affected areas.

Objectives of this Framework

The framework's main objective is to chart out a clear roadmap for reopening schools, closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and schools used as quarantine or isolation centers.  It also provides guidelines for reopening schools from the viewpoint of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health. Here are its excerpts:

Preparations Before Schools Operation

  • The schools must be opened after following the national, local, and state governments' measures. Every aspect of the well-being of the students, teachers, and staff must be taken into consideration.
  • The schools' situation analysis must result in shifts for running the schools and the change in modality if needed. For the surety in the operation of the school, health experts should give a green signal.
  • Schools must publish the time and date schedule for running the school along with the students' rules during school hours.
  • The schools used as the isolation or quarantine center must be well sanitized, and all quarantine or isolation activities shall be halted.
  • With aid from the local government, the school students must be mentally prepared to attend the school.
  • In association with the education ministry, the local government must help create a positive environment between the school authority and guardians.
  • Differently able and special children must be provided with proper care to go to school again. While doing so, necessary arrangements shall be made on matters such as special facilities, remedial teaching, midday meal management, etc.
  • The study's essential materials should be received from the education and human resource development center to run teaching-learning activities smoothly.

Related to Health, Safety, and Guidance

  • Students must be provided with the necessary infrastructure of education along with the regular check-up of the temperature while entering the school.
  • Every student and parent must wear a mask and maintain social distance.
  • The local education and government bodies should monitor and assure whether the minimum safe school standards of school reopening have been fulfilled or not.
  • If the earliest symptoms of weakness or COVID are seen, the school authority should take the necessary steps to cure the student, teachers, or the school staff.
  • The school must have a help desk consisting of a health worker who focuses on regular check-ups and provides health-related suggestions.
  • The infected teachers, staff, and students should not attend the school until they have fully recovered.
  • Local levels shall make arrangements to give psychosocial counseling to children, teachers, and staff in order to get rid of the fear of COVID-19.
  • School and the related staff must listen to their students' thoughts, their tendencies of fear and protect them from discrimination, misbehavior in the school area.

Framework Related to Facilities and Seating Management

  • Schools must create a learning environment where social distancing can be maintained.
  • The local level shall prepare and implement proper alternatives like shifts of classes, shortening periods, classifying periods based on the importance, conducting the classes on alternate days to protect the virus from spreading.
  • Schools must strictly follow the safety guidelines provided by WHO.
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