Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: School bells in Odisha are finally going to ring from Friday following the state government's decision to reopen classes for 10 and Plus two students with all the COVID guidelines in place. However, the government has warned of stern action against the school managements if found to be violating the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Reviewing the preparations of schools ahead of the reopening, the State School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Ranjan Das said, "I have found these schools adhering to the COVID guidelines, however, those found flouting the SOP, stern action will be taken against them."

As per the protocol, all the schools and the respective hostels which are scheduled to open tomorrow have started sanitisation of their premises while ensuring adequate drinking water and clean toilet.

The students will have to bring consent letters from their parents to school. They will be allowed into the class room after thermal screening. In case of any COVID symptoms, they will be quarantined in an isolation room following which a medical team will be informed to conduct tests on them.

The seating arrangements have been made keeping social distancing guidelines in mind. A maximum of 20-25 students will be allowed to sit in a class room and they have been divided into several sections. All the classroom will be sanitised everyday after the class.

Keeping the rush during lunch break into consideration, schools have been directed to allow students in phases to have lunch. Students will sit in their designated seat every day and will not be allowed to change.

Speaking about the preparations, Ranjan Bal, the Principal of BJB Junior College in Bhubaneswar said, "No boarders will be allowed to go outside including coaching centers. The guardians will accompany their wards to the hostel with the undertaking signed by them."

Head Master of Saraswati Bidya Mandir in Cuttack, Narayan Prasad Sarangi said, "The classes will continue from 10 am till 4pm. We have already prepared a lesson plan for the next 100 days to compensate the study losses due to the pandemic."

Students seemed quite happy about the prospect of offline classes. "Our future depends on 12th results. So, offline classes were a necessity for us," said a Plus Two Science student, Sushree Priyadarshini.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)