Civic school teachers are currently being schooled in how to ensure safe schools which are getting ready to open after a seven-month long disruption brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been training its teachers under the ‘Safe Shala’ initiative.
Their ‘training manual’ has been prepared by a team of Class 11 students, whose 70-page long list of recommendations to keep schoolchildren safe has been approved by the community medicine department of the Lokmanya Tilak General Hospital (Sion Hospital), once the state government gives directives to reopen schools.
Dr Mohan Joshi, Dean, Sion Hospital, said a five-day workshop has been organised, in which training will be imparted based on the guidelines prepared. “The community medicine department of our hospital has taken this initiative seriously, following which teachers are being trained. We willalso send the recommendations to private schools but we are yet to decide if it will be made compulsory for private teachers to attend the workshops,” he said.
Since October 17, Sion hospital has been training some teachers to sensitise them on the safety guidelines. According to the education department, 150 teachers from civic schools will undergo the training to become master trainers responsible for training other staffers at their respective schools.
A look at the some of the guidelines prepared for the workshop:
• Schoolbus drivers and conductors must declare their health status before staring pick-ups
• Parents must have their children screened before sending them to school
• Classrooms and restrooms must be regularly disinfected, as must commonly touched surfaces like the lift doors, buttons, microphones, etc
• For secondary students, schools must form committees on public health
• Social studies should focus on the history of pandemics and vaccines
• Good health behaviours like social distancing must be encouraged
• Ventilation in classrooms must be improved, where air-conditioning is not recommended
• Staggered canteen timings for hostels. Dr Seema S Bansode-Gokhe, head of the department of community medicine, Sion Hospital, said the guidelines had been prepared by a team of students from the Singapore International School, Mumbai.
“We have found that Shivak (Master Shivak Menon) and his team have diligently followed the guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Government of India and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) while preparing the manual. Thus, it is recommended to all government schools and non-government schools may be interested in using it,” her letter reads.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said the guidelines had been prepared considering all the minute measures through which the spread of coronavirus could be prevented.
These guidelines are not only for BMC schools, even private schools can follow the same, Kakani said. “We have directed all the teachers undergoing training at the work – shop organised at the Sion hospital to follow the rules at all civic-run schools. Moreover, it is the first set of guidelines prepared for schools and we will be making some additional changes when schools are reopened,” he said.