The government of Kerala has decided to reopen schools, colleges and other educational institutions across the state in the first week of January, after being shut down for 10 months.

In the first phase of reopening colleges in Kerala, only students of the fifth and sixth semesters of undergraduate courses will be allowed to attend classes. The classes for other semesters will resume gradually after the pandemic is further under control.

The state government has also announced that students enrolled in postgraduate programmes and research courses will also be permitted to attend classes from January 4. All the teaching and non-teaching staff will be allowed to go to college from December 28.

Earlier, the Kerala Education Department issued a list of COVID-19 safety guidelines for the reopening of schools in the state.

Guidelines for reopening of schools-

1. As per the notification, only 50% of students will be allowed to attend the schools.

2. In schools, where the student strength exceeds 300, 25% of students will be allowed to attend classes at a time.

3. Only one student can occupy a bench during the first week of the reopening of the school.

4. Students will be required to maintain social distancing of 2 metres from one another during school hours. Social distancing should also be ensured in the staff room, buses and other vehicles, drinking water area and playground.

5. Schools have been instructed to display bold markings in areas where drinking water is available, hands are washed, and in washrooms.

6. The classes will take place in different slots. The first lot of students will attend classes for a maximum of three hours, starting from 9 am or 10 am; after which the second batch can come in for three hours starting from 1 or 2 pm.

7. Every school would constitute a COVID-19 cell, chaired by the principal or headmaster. The cell would meet once or twice a week to review the situation in the school. Whenever needed, health camps would be organised for students and staff members. 

8. Thermal screening of all students, teachers and staff members and use of masks inside the premises would be compulsory.

As per the guidelines, precautions need to be taken at the school level in the wake of the government’s decision to hold classes for students of 10th and 12th to prepare them for the public examinations, which are scheduled to take place in March.

The number of students who should attend in a day should be determined on the basis of the total number of students in these classes, the total number of classrooms available, and other facilities.

Schools, colleges in Kerala, along with other educational institutes, were shut down in March 2020 due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

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