In the wake of the COVID-19 aftermaths, the Indian Government has removed some restrictions on the opening of schools and colleges since September 21. The decision was officially announced through a public notice at the website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare i.e. mohfw.gov.in. However, the reopening of training institutions and higher education institutions that involve laboratory work is being allowed under special considerations. Not only before but even after schools have reopened, certain policies must be implemented in the greater interest of public health and safety.
MoHFW has published some latest guidelines regarding the planning and scheduling of activities after skill training institutes and and higher education institutes, academic calendars need to be planned in a way so as to avoid overcrowding and promote a mix of regular and online teaching (see image above).
Academic calendar to be planned to avoid overcrowding
Institutions have to plan the academic calendar of events in a manner that can help avoid overcrowding, congregation etc. It can be roughly concluded that not all students will be called to attend classes at once.
Promote a mix of regular & online classes
It has been advised to plan the academic calendar in such a way that promotes a blended learning atmosphere. A mix of regular and online classes is the proposed solution. Therefore, not all the students have to physically attend sessions in the Institute at once.
Day-wise, time was scheduling of activities
Emphasis is being laid on eliminating any activity that leads to crowding. For this, the MoHFW has recommended day-wise, time-wise scheduling of teaching/training activities. By conducting such activities in a staggered manner, it will be easier to lessen overcrowding at any one location on any day.
Planning maximum capacity per session for practical activities in laboratories
Higher Educational Institutes and Skill Training Institutes involve laboratory and experimental work where the gathering is a common sight. Students gather in confined laboratory workspaces for a practical demonstration of activities. However, institutes now have to limit the number of students attending laboratory at once (per session). For this purpose, the MoHFW has recommended redesigning of spaces.
High risk employees to be safeguarded
Certain groups of people are highly susceptible to contracting the virus easily compared to others. These include aged employees, pregnant employees or those who have underlying medical conditions. They are more prone to suffer if the virus is contracted. Such employees must not be put into the front line work requiring direct contact with students.