New Delhi: In the backdrop of ongoing 'Unlock 4', partial resumption of activities in schools for students of classes 9-12 will be allowed from 21 September, the union health ministry on Tuesday. Guidelines have also been issued for school operations amidst Covid-19 pandemic.

However, only schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to open. Assemblies, sports and events, which can lead to overcrowding, are strictly prohibited in the schools that are opting to start operations. The government also said that online or distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
“Students of class 9th to 12th shall be permitted to visit their school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/guardians. Such visits and teacher – student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner," state the standard operation procedures (SOPs) issued by the health ministry.

Further, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the school. Students, teachers and employees shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones as per the health ministry guidelines adding that the schools that were used as quarantine centres will be properly sanitized and deep cleaned before partial functioning is resumed.
Only asymptomatic people (teachers, employees and students) will be allowed in the school premises as per the guidelines. If a teacher/employee/student is found to be symptomatic, he/she should be referred to nearest health centre, the SOPs state.

The guidelines stated that the concerned teaching- and non-teaching employees (up to 50 % of the strength) may be called to schools for online teaching/tele-counselling and related work. Apart from mandatory masks, following regular sanitisation, respiratory etiquettes, hand washing in schools, the health ministry said that at all times, the teachers and students shall maintain a physical distancing of 6 feet apart, wherever feasible. Seating arrangement has to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc.


India has been actively engaged in covid-19 vaccine development. The government on Tuesday said that Russia has requested India's help in manufacturing of vaccine by Indian companies and conduct of Phase-III studies in India. Also, India attaches high importance to the request from a special friend and on both fronts, there has been considerable progress. “We are working with this vaccine candidate for manufacture as well as trial and regulatory facilitation, in the spirit of partnership and science for humanity. The outreach has been extended to the vaccine manufacturers in India," said V.K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog