Covid Concerns: J&K Schools Asked To Regularly Screen Students

 

2022-23 Shall Be The Year Of Educational Transformation For J&K: CS

Srinagar- As schools and colleges reopened in Jammu and Kashmir after a two-year-long break, the Union Territory administration on Monday directed the educational institutions to regularly screen their students and ensure that symptomatic students are tested timely and isolated to prevent the spread of infection.

These directions were passed by the Chief Secretary; Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta on Monday, while chairing a meeting to take stock of arrangements for reopening of educational institutions and resuming offline teaching in Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesperson said.

In the meeting, he said, it was informed that the government has been regularly reviewing the Covid situation in the Union territory and has now decided to resume offline teaching by reopening all educational institutions.

“The Chief Secretary stated that the COVID positivity rate in the UT has been contained to 0.7% and impressed upon the Heads of all educational institutions to remain vigilant to any signs of infection especially among unvaccinated students below the age of 17 years, besides ensuring adherence to COVID appropriate behavior, SoPs and protocols; proper social distancing; and hand hygiene provisions, and compliance to UGC guidelines in the matter,” he said.

Mehta, the spokesperson said, asked the Vice-Chancellors of universities, Principals of colleges, and Heads of all schools to submit Covid prevention and mitigation plans taking into account capacity of class rooms with 6 feet norm, staggered teaching plan, Covid protocols, vaccination, screening, and emergency SoP; within two days.

“Further, to enhance effectiveness of COVID mitigation and management, the Chief Secretary advised the educational institutions to base their COVID management plans on the model UGC guidelines,” he said.

According to the spokesperson, the education institutions were further asked to regularly screen their students and ensure that symptomatic students are tested timely and isolated to prevent the spread of infection.

Meanwhile, the Health and Medical Education Department was also asked to address the health-related needs of all schools, colleges, and universities in a time-bound manner, through the concerned divisional and district administrations.

Considering the educational institutions in Jammu & Kashmir are reopening for offline classes after a hiatus of almost two years, Mehta, the spokesperson said, impressed upon the concerned to ensure proper maintenance, upkeep, and cleanliness in the institutions along with functional electricity and water supplies as well as proper sanitation facilities therein.

The Chief Secretary, he said, impressed upon the institutions to build on the experience of online classes and adopt an ideal blend of IT-based offline teaching curriculum to boost students’ learning outcomes and successfully train them for national-level examinations.

“The academic year 2022-23 shall be the year of educational transformation for Jammu and Kashmir”, Mehta said, while emphasising that each head of the Institution shall be personally responsible for Covid management and healthy teaching environment.

“There should be no tolerance for unhealthy activities in places of learning,” Mehta said, as per the spokesperson.

Additionally, he said, the Higher Education Department and School Education Department were asked to fully implement the National Education Policy across Jammu and Kashmir during 2022, thereby making the Union territory, the first among in the country to do so.

Classes Resume In Jammu As Cases Dip

Schools in Jammu resumed offline classes on Monday after the administration ordered phased opening of educational institutions across the union territory.

Students of classes 9 to 12, dressed in uniforms and carrying vaccination certificates, were seen thronging their institutions in Jammu and other districts of the region on Monday morning, officials said.

In an order issued on Sunday, the state executive committee had said all universities, colleges, polytechnic institutes and ITIs, and classes from 9 to 12 can commence their routine offline teaching by following Covid Appropriate Behaviour and standard operating procedures from February 14.

However, most of the educational institutions, including universities and colleges, remained closed and are likely to resume activities in a day or two after making necessary arrangements.

The officials said the attendance in both private and government high and higher secondary schools on Monday was low, but it was expected to pick up in the coming days.

A Jammu University official said since the order was issued on Sunday evening, they were finalizing the arrangements to reopen the university.

In summer zone schools, the offline mode of teaching for the remaining junior classes shall begin from February 21, allowing the students to attend school after over two years.

Offline teaching at all schools in the winter zone will commence after February 28.

The schools situated in the winter zone of Kashmir and snow-bound parts of Jammu region are currently on winter vacation.

Welcoming the decision of the administration to open educational institutions, principal of Shiksha Niketan Higher Secondary School, Rajeev Nagar, Rameshwar Mengi said, ...it is a happy moment for all of us that the students are back in their classrooms.

Such a decision should have come long ago the young buds are the future of the country and the government should accord top priority to education , he said, noting that the online mode of education is no alternative to traditional schooling.

He said the school had made all necessary arrangements, including sanitization of classes, screening of students at the main gate and adequate availability of hand sanitizers.

Gourav Gupta, a class 9 student, said he is happy to be back on the school premises.

After remaining shut for about five months, educational institutions opened for classes 10 and above in September last year but the rising cases of COVID-19 forced the administration to shift back to online classes from October.

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