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Sharmili Mallick

Physical classes for Class 8 students at all the private and government-run schools in Odisha resumed on Monday, as per the directives of the State Government, almost after a gap of around 18 months.

The School and Mass Education Department had earlier decided to reopen physical classes for Standard 11 and 8 from October 21 and October 25, respectively. Classes 10 and 12 students have opened since July 26.

The department meanwhile has issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be followed by the school authorities for the safety of students, teachers and staff amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As per the SOP, the classes for Class 8 students will be held between 9 am and 12.30 pm. 

The S&ME department has asked the school authorities to ensure social distancing and queue management inside and at the entrance of the school premises, specific markings on the floor/ground with a gap of 6 feet should be made.

Students should be made to sit at safe distances/alternate desks inside classrooms and fixed seating arrangements should be ensured. A particular seat/space should be earmarked for each student (for example: based on roll number) so that there is limited exposure to other students' physical spaces, said the SOP.

The students will be provided dry foods instead of cooked meals in the school. There will be a special examination on October 27, 28 and 29 and attempts will be made to develop a fearless environment in the school, the notification read further.

There must be adequate soap (solid/liquid) and running water in all washrooms and toilets. Hand sanitizers etc. for the teachers, students, and staff must be available mandatorily in each classroom, directed the S&ME department.

“We were at home for around two years and were taught through online classes. However, coming to school is a different kind of experience and I feel happy as I got to meet my friends. We will strictly adhere to all the Covid-19 protocols laid down by the government,” said a Class 8 student at a school in Balasore.

A student at Khannagar High School said, “I feel excited as I came to school after a long time. I met my friends and teachers. Now, we can discuss our doubts with teachers which was a difficult process during online classes. We have been told to wear masks at all times and use sand sanitizers.”

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