Final guidelines for school reopening by Oct. 5

Student transportation protocol to be in place

Final guidelines for school reopening will be ready by October 5, Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty has said.

Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, the Minister said the process was nearing completion. The guidelines would be finalised after incorporating directives put forward by other departments. Talks with them were almost through.

Discussions would be held with teacher, student, and youth organisations over the next two days in online mode. District-level meetings headed by Collectors would also be organised in the coming days.

The Minister held talks with Minister for Transport Antony Raju in the evening to discuss the arrangements to be made by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) in connection with school reopening on November 1.

The General Education Department agreed in principle to the student transportation protocol prepared by the Motor Vehicles Department for transportation of students to school. The protocols would be shared with all schools.

Bus-on-demand

The KSRTC would provide student-friendly bus-on-demand services to schools if sought by them. The rates would be decided after talks between the school concerned and the KSRTC, though it would be less than that charged for school buses. It would vary according to the distance, Mr. Raju said after the meeting.

Student concession on KSRTC buses would continue. Fitness of school vehicles would be inspected before October 20 by visiting schools. The fitness of all vehicles should be ensured. Only after a fitness and trial run would vehicles be allowed to ferry children.

The meeting decided to recommend to the Finance Department and the Chief Minister that road tax for school vehicles be exempted for the period from October 1, 2020 to September 30 this year.

COVID-19 protocols would be observed strictly on the buses. Only two students would be allowed on a seat. Students would not be allowed to stand and travel. Door attendants would scan students’ body temperature using thermal scanners and then allow them inside. Sanitisers would also be provided to them. Double masking and distancing would be a must.

Teachers deputed as safety officers would check the temperature of door attendants. These teachers should have received two doses of vaccination. Schools would have to provide the protocol to all parents.

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