In the post COVID situation, the nation is moving through a gradual phase-wise unlocking of activities. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already announced that schools, colleges and other higher education institutes (HIEs) are allowed to resume operations from September 21, 2020. However, the worst is not over yet and the decision to reopen training institutes and HIEs have been taken under strict considerations. MoHFW has published several guidelines and preventive measures at the website mohfw.gov.in. These must be followed by such institutes considering resumption of operations.
In a bid to spread awareness and know-how on planning before reopening of institutions, the MoHFW has gone a step ahead in circulating IEC materials through popular social media networks like Twitter (see image above). Detailed guidelines for planning before reopening of institutions is also published by the Ministry at the official website. The following key takeaways must be strictly considered by all such institutions considering resumption of operations.
Institutes in containment zones are not allowed to open
It must be noted that the phase-wise unlocking of activities is only applicable to non-containment zones. Containment zones that are highly prone to community spread of COVID-19 will still remain locked. As such, Institutes that are in containment zones are not allowed to open.
Students living in containment areas are not allowed to attend
Not only the restrictions are applicable to institutions situated in containment zones, but there will also be restrictions on students and staff living in containment zones. Therefore, students and staff, or any other individual living in containment zones are not to be allowed to attend the institution. In addition, institutes must undertake the responsibility to advise staff and students against visiting areas that fall within containment zones.
Proper sanitization of all work areas
Strict procedure for regular sanitization has to be followed in institutional infrastructure. Areas such as hostels, laboratories and other work areas must be regularly sanitized. The MoHFW has recommended a 1% sodium hypochlorite solution to be used as a sanitizing agent. Emphasis is being laid upon frequently touched areas and other common utility areas which must be sanitized properly.
Distance between training equipment to reduce crowding
The Ministry has recommended maintaining at least 6 feet distance between training equipment in skill-based training institutions. Laboratories and other experimental work areas are necessary for skill training institutes. However, with a large number of student and faculty staff using training equipment, it is important that proper protocol is maintained so as to prevent the spread of the virus. It has been recommended that institutes consider using outdoor space for such activities so as to prevent crowding around training equipment.