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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Keonjhar: The Keonjhar district education officer on Friday withheld the salaries of the headmaster and all the teaching and non-teaching staff of as many as five schools for the month of January on charges of violation of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Covid-19 issued by the State School and Mass Education department.

The move came on the very first day after the reopening of the schools for class 10 and 12 students in the State following a hiatus of over nine months.

The schools found to have violated the guidelines are SMR High School from Jharbelda, Khireitangiri Government High School, Bishoipat Government High School fromJamunaposi, PMB High School from Bolaniposi and Jhalamani School from Denuan.

The district education officer found blatant violations of the SOP while he was on a visit to different schools following their reopening on Friday. He also found that there was no strict enforcement of the rules to check compliance of the norms.

According to reports, there were blatant violations of the Covid-19 protocols in the schools. Apart from improper cleaning of the campus, proper plans were not prepared for the commencement of classes and the number of students allowed to sit in a classroom exceeded the permissible limit. Teachers were also seen taking classes with masks pulled down below the chin.

Social distancing norms were openly flouted in some of the schools where students were seen seating next to one another without maintaining the provision of six feet distance.

Earlier School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash had warned stern action against the schools for flouting the Covid-19 guidelines.

“Our district level nodal officers are visiting different schools to check whether they are complying with the safety norms or not. Those found violating the SOP will face action,” he had said.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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