Rashmi Ranjan

Bhubaneswar: The School and Mass Education Department on Sunday issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of hostels for Class X and XII students of all government and private schools across the State. The hostels will reopen on January 8.

In a notification, the Mass Education department has advised the concerned authorities to abide by all guidelines issued by Health and Family Welfare Department and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) in the process of reopening of hostels.

The following SOPs have been issued by the S&ME Department for hostel management and ensuring safe residential stay of students.

  1. General Principles-
  • Students from 10th and 12th to be allowed to avail hostel facility only after obtaining written consent from parents/guardians.
  • Initial preference for calling students to join back hostels may be given to students who do not have any support at home and also no facility for on-line education.
  • Hostel management and all staff members including mess staff to be properly sensitized on physical distancing norms, health and hygiene, clean and nutritious food, information about nearest health facility in case of any health emergency etc.
  • Screening of every boarder needs to be done before they start staying at the hostel. Only asymptomatic boarders should be allowed to join. Similarly, all staff members and others having access to hostel to be screened.
  • Hostel should be out of bound for all persons except essential staff with known health status.
  • Note that students should not be involved in any of the cleaning activities for health and safety reasons.
  • Simple health screening of students and staff may be carried out daily, and updates be maintained.
  • A weekly general health checkup of all students and staff to be done with the help Health and Family Welfare Deptt.
  • Hostel to ensure hot and nutritious food is served to students. Students should not order food from outside.
  1. Safe Stay-
  • Residential facility to ensure adequate space so that physical distancing and other Covid-19 protocols can be maintained.
  • If existing hostels do not have adequate space, alternate arrangement to be made.
  • Temporary partitions may be erected to separate inmates/boarders. Adequate distance between beds may be ensured.
  • Physical/social distancing must be maintained all the times in hostels. Signage and messaging at prominent places will be important.
  • Since students may be coming from different locations by using public transport such as buses, trains etc., it is important that they should minimize their contact and interaction with others on arrival at hostel and effectively, maintain strict physical distancing and their health status should be monitored at least for a week. Whenever new boarders are joining, they should minimize interaction with other boarders.
  • Arrangement for a regular visit of Counselor teacher or a Counselor needs to be ensured to take care of any mental or emotional health issue of the students.
  • Visiting medical team may inspect kitchen and mess at least once a week to ensure maintenance of hygiene.
  • Availability of good quality Wi-Fi connection, cable connection for Television and Radio may be ensured. These facilities should be used as per norms of physical/social distancing.
  • A proper crowd management in the hostel as well as outside premises shall be ensured.
  • Group activities in games, sports, music, dance etc. should be avoided.
  • Students should not share any material (mask, toiletries, textbooks, notebooks, pen, pencil, eraser, tiffin box, water bottles etc.) with each other.
  • For air conditioning within the school, CPWD norms shall be followed which prescribes temperature settings in the range of 24-30 degree Centigrade, relative humidity in the range of 40-70% and provision for intake of fresh air and cross ventilation.
  1. Health and Hygiene, Sanitization etc.-
  • Prior deep sanitization of hostel premises must be ensured as per guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare , Govt. of Odisha.
  • Safety audit by management for both structural and non-structural hazards to be done for safety of boarders.
  • If possible, alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be placed at prominent places like reception and entrance of the hostel.
  • Daily cleaning and sanitization of hostel, mess and toilets to be done.
  • Regular cleaning and sanitization of frequently touched/used areas to be ensured.
  • Prior opening hostels must have adequate and good quality drinking water, electricity and functional toilet.
  • Arrangement for a regular visit of Counselor teacher or a Counselor need to be ensured to take care of any mental or emotional issue of the boarders.
  • Proper arrangement should be made for waste collection and disposal as per guidelines.
  1. Management of Kitchen/Mess
  • It shall be the responsibility of hostel management to ensure that cooking and hostel staff is not COVID positive.
  • Thermal scanning of the kitchen staff may be carried out at the entry of the hostel to check the temperature. The temperature may be recorded on daily basis.
  • Wearing face cover/mask will be mandatory during cleaning, washing, cutting, cooking and serving of meals. If handmade face covers are used, it should be ensured they are washed daily.
  • The staff should be provided adequate and suitable clean protective apron, and head gear for covering hair and gloves. It must be ensured that the staff at work wears only clean protective apron and head covering.
  • Sanitizers should not be used near cooking/fire in order to avoid fire accidents.
  • The staff should wash their hands at least each time work is resumed and whenever contamination of their hands has occurred; e.g. after coughing / sneezing, visiting toilet, using telephone. Hand washing time should be a minimum of 40 seconds.
  • Whenever possible, kitchen activities may be performed, maintaining appropriate physical distance
  • Cooks and staff members should cover their faces with masks all the time and maintain hygiene.


  • The kitchen cum store/place of cooking must be deep cleaned and sanitized before 24 hours of actual cooking after reopening of hostels.
  • The kitchen should be cleaned before actual preparation of food.
  • Similarly floors of kitchen, dining area, cooking tub, be cleaned.
  • Cracks open surfaces, open joints etc. must be repaired.
  • They should be efficient drainage system along with waste disposal facility.
  • Dining area and kitchen should be well ventilated.
  • Vegetables, fruits and perishables commodities should be procured fresh.
  • Vegetables and outer sealed packages /covers etc. should be cleaned properly.
  • Proper hand washing must be ensured before and after consumption of food.
  • The serving and dining area should be well sanitized before and after food consumption.
  • Serving of food should be in a staggered manner in order to avoid crowding.
  • While serving food the staff should wear face mask, hand cloves, head cover and shall maintain appropriate distance from the students.
  • Food should be served to the boarders immediately after cooked.
  1. E) Protocol to be followed in case of detection of a suspected case of COVID-19
  • Place the ill student or staff in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
  • Provide a mask/face cover till such time as he/she is examined by a doctor.
  • A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district Rapid Response Team/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.
  • Disinfection of the premises to be taken up is the person is found positive.
  • For a suspect or a case detected in hostel, the student/staff shall not be sent back to his/her home as it may lead to spread of the disease. He/She should be isolated and State/district health officials shall be informed to suitable follow-up.
  • All protocols as advised by the Department of Health and Family Welfare should be followed.
  • Hostel management must be in touch with nearest medical facility.

(Edited By Ramakanta Biswas)