Staggered lunch breaks, 50% occupancy: DDMA issues new guidelines for reopening of schools & colleges in Delhi

delhi school reopeningThe DDMA has also advised schools to hold lunch breaks in open areas to avoid overcrowding. (File)

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has issued guidelines for schools ahead of their proposed reopening on September 1.

The DDMA has asked schools in the National Capital to prepare their timetable according to occupancy limit of classrooms and following strict Covid-19 protocols. A maximum of 50 per cent students would be allowed to sit inside classrooms, while lunch breaks will be staggered.

The disaster management authority had earlier formed an expert panel to recommend how to reopen schools. The panel had recommended phase-wise reopening of schools, first for students of higher classes, followed by those in middle classes, and finally for students in the primary section.

The DDMA has also advised schools to hold lunch breaks in open areas to avoid overcrowding.

However, students and teachers living in containment zones will not be allowed to return to schools and colleges. Educational institutions will also have to set up an emergency quarantine room, while routine guest visits are to be barred.

The Delhi government has decided to reopen schools for Classes IX to XII and colleges in phases from September 1. It has also permitted coaching classes to resume. However, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said no student would be forced to come to school for physical classes, adding that they would be allowed to attend online classes.

According to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, if the city’s Covid-19 situation continues to remain normal and there is no third wave, the government will reopen all schools and colleges.

However, the decision to reopen schools has elicited mixed response. While many believe it was time for schools to reopen due to the huge learning loss students have suffered, many others believe that this would end up causing more harm than good and suggested waiting a few more weeks or even a month, considering warnings of a likely third wave of the pandemic.

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