Rohan Parikh, Managing Director, The Green Acres Academy

Rohan Parikh has attained a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and has more than 10 years of experience in the Real Estate and Hospitality industries. In 2013 Mr. Parikh entered the field of education by founding The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, and simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in Education through Johns Hopkins University. His aim is to provide affordable yet holistic, and well-rounded education by adapting the latest research in teaching and learning techniques within the Indian context. What started as one campus of The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, Mumbai, has grown to a total of 3 campuses across Mumbai and Pune, as well as the latest Seven Rivers International School (an IGCSE affiliate school).

 

It’s been more than a year since the pandemic disrupted our lives. While schools did quickly adapt to online teaching so that education for their students wouldn’t stop, students are looking forward to the day when physical schools will be started again, and they can be reunited with their friends and teachers. As the vaccines roll out to citizens and parts of the city reopen, one can hope that it’s only a matter of time till schools will also be allowed to restart. However, all schools will still have to enforce strict rules and guidelines for students, teachers, all staff and even the parents. After all safety on-premises will still remain the top priority.

Here are just a few precautions schools can take in preparation for opening their premises:

Facility

  • Boards with guidelines on social distancing and sanitization protocols, as well as sanitizing stations should be placed all across the school premises.
  • The entire school building including bathrooms should be disinfected at regular intervals during the course of the day, making sure that a child-friendly disinfectant is used.
  • Elevator usage should be controlled and should also follow the rules of social distancing.
  • Classrooms should make use of their fans and open windows, rather than air conditioner so as to allow for air circulation.
  • The medical centres in school should ensure they are well equipped to handle any emergency that may occur.

Staff and Students

  • Masks should be compulsory for all students, teachers and staff at all times on-premises. Hand sanitization and temperature checks also made mandatory at entry. Anyone showing any symptoms will not be allowed on school grounds.
  • Teachers should ensure that social distancing is maintained in the classrooms as well, between teacher and students as well as between the students.
  • Students, teachers and school staff should be trained in safety protocols prior to the schools reopening. For younger students, it is important that the school staff be well knowledged of the safety protocols.
  • To ensure further safety standards, only students, teachers and administrative staff should be permitted on school premises. This will limit the number of people having access to the school building and therefor contain the risks involved.
  • To assure the parents that the school is taking all the necessary precautions, school staff will be asked to produce a covid negative report prior to schools reopening. Testing for school staff can also be conducted at frequent intervals to ensure that there is no accidental outbreak in the school.
  • Another important precaution to uphold would be to keep canteens closed and ask students to bring their own food from home. Again, this prevents non-essential staff from entering the school premises and therefore reducing risk.
  • School buses should also run at a reduced capacity, and students will be socially distanced on the buses as well. Buses will also need to be frequently sanitized.

It’s important for the school to provide assurance to the parents about their child’s safety. And communicating with the parents on the different measures being taken by the school to ensure students safety, will give the parents confidence that the school is doing its best.

While it is unsure when the pandemic will end, it is possible for schools to restart in the near future. Operating safely will be the top priority for schools when they do open, and by keeping these guidelines, and those of the government in mind, it is possible to provide students with a safe school environment.

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