Making parents sign an undertaking on pupil’s safety is a gross violation by schools

AERIAL VIEW

Instead of following the norms, if the schools want the parents to take responsibility, there is no point in re-starting the schools.
As it is, eyebrows have been raised over the re-opening decision soon after the elections. It seems like the Dr Pramod Sawant-led BJP government did not start school only because it feared a backlash from the public, which they did not want ahead of elections.
Taking an undertaking from parents is uncalled for. The schools and teachers can take little pain and take more precautionary measures to see that there is no infection in schools.

 

SURAJ NANDREKAR
Editor, Goemkarponn

 

After almost two years of the COVID19 pandemic, the schools resumed in Goa, with the students finally returning to where they belonged but the parents were left stunned when the school administration asked teachers to take an undertaking that the school would not be responsible if the students attract COVID19.
Isn’t this a violation of rules? Why should parents sign such an undertaking? Why is it not the responsibility of the schools to maintain COVID19-appropriate behaviour in schools?
Of course, it is difficult to control the students at the primary level. It is challenging to keep them away from touching each other playing. But the school also has to see that is proper hygiene maintained.
The campus has to be adequately sanitized and regularly.
Instead of following the norms, if the schools want the parents to take responsibility, there is no point in re-starting the schools.
As it is, eyebrows have been raised over the re-opening decision soon after the elections. It seems like the Dr Pramod Sawant-led BJP government did not start school only because it feared a backlash from the public, which they did not want ahead of elections.
Taking an undertaking from parents is uncalled for. The schools and teachers can take little pain and take more precautionary measures to see that there is no infection in schools.
After near-universal school closures in March 2020 that affected 1.6 billion learners and more than 100 million teachers and educators worldwide, countries worldwide have developed health and safety protocols to safely keep schools open and protect students, teachers and other educational staff from the transmission of COVID-19.
Now, returning to school for students in Goa has taken on new meaning and a new set of worries for parents and other caregivers during the age of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Schools must now balance the educational, social and emotional needs of their students along with the health and safety of students and staff amid the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
Practice safe distancing
Social distancing, or physical distancing, is the practice of allowing enough space between individuals to reduce the spread of disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) of space between yourself and people outside your household to meet these goals.
But that might not be practical in some schools or with younger children.
Steps to encourage social distancing during in-person schooling may include:
Using outdoor spaces when possible for instruction, meals and recess
Reducing the number of children on school buses
Spacing desks out and having them all face in the same direction
Using physical barriers, such as plexiglass shields and partitions, to separate educators and students
Dividing students up into distinct groups or cohorts that stay together during the school day and reducing interaction between different groups
Weighing the risks and benefits of in-person schooling for children may mean different levels of social distancing based on the child’s age and developmental stage.
Wear a mask
Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces, such as schools. If you are in an area with a high number of new COVID-19 cases, wear a mask outdoors in crowded areas or when you are in close contact with others who aren’t fully vaccinated.

Keep hands clean
Practice hand-washing at home with your child and explain why it’s important to wash his or her hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after eating, coughing/sneezing, or adjusting a face mask.
Clean and disinfect
Whether your child is being schooled at home or at school, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help reduce the risk of illness. This includes frequently touched items such as doorknobs, faucets, keyboards, tablets and phones.
Stay home if sick
Some schools may recommend daily temperature readings as a part of COVID-19 symptom screening. But since many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, such as the common cold, allergies and influenza, the effectiveness of this screening can be limited.
To limit the spread of COVID-19 as well as other germs, children should stay home from school and other activities if they have any signs of illness or a fever. Contact your doctor if you have questions.
Don’t skip vaccinations
Whether classes are happening at school or at home, make sure your child is up to date with all recommended vaccines. All school-aged children should get a flu shot each season. Getting a flu vaccine is especially important this season because the flu and COVID-19 cause similar common signs and symptoms. Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of the flu and its complications. It’s another layer of defence to help prevent missed school days.

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