To say that the pandemic has disrupted the educational sector significantly in India would be stating the obvious. With the tendency of the virus to spread from one infected human to another through physical contact and droplets of air inhaled during respiration, the dread that children being affected when interacting with one another in school has kept them cooped up at home for more than 5 months devoid of peer interaction and one-on- one with friends and teachers.
The time to open the doors of the school to welcome them back has come! And with it the responsibility of schools to ensure a safe environment. More so in a fully residential school like ours. Heritage Girls School has taken certain steps to keep COVID-19 at bay once the children return to school. Students will be asked to report in a staggered manner. The first batch to arrive will be grades 9 to 12. The juniors will come in at a later date.
Ensuring Personal Hygiene and Social Distancing norms in the pupils, staff and support staff are but some of the measures we are working on. They will be advised to follow them meticulously, with members of staff being ever-vigilant at monitoring this.
A questionnaire with detailed queries regarding the health condition of parents, relatives and friends they have been with, has to be filled out for our record. In case there is someone who shows symptoms of the COVID 19 in their vicinity they will be advised to quarantine at home.
They will be required to pack sufficient face masks, gloves and sanitizers in their baggage, a few days before arrival so that the bag is contamination free from inside. These will be provided in school in case it is needed.
Only one person will accompany the student to school. They will not be permitted to enter the gate. At the school gate, the temperature will be taken and recorded and sent back if necessary. There is a sanitising station at the gate which all visitors are required to use.
The luggage will be left at the gate and these will be thoroughly sanitized before being brought inside the dormitories.Washbasins with adequate soap dispensers are provided everywhere. We would make sure that students clean their hands thoroughly and often, using plenty of soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to kill any virus on hands. Scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and making sure that their fingers, thumbs and palms are clean.
Once they are inside the campus it is compulsory for staff and students to wear masks to prevent any respiratory infection. Signages with this instruction is put up in all areas.Signages regarding safety precautions to be followed in case they cough or sneeze, and on the safe disposal of tissues in trashcans kept everywhere is present in all areas of the school..
In order to maintain social distancing norms, it has been decided to have only 2 occupants in a dorm room. In classrooms too, desks are arranged with sufficient space between students.All events where there is need for an assembly has been cancelled or the protocols changed.Students and teachers are advised not to share objects like books, clothes, stationary etc.
Arrangements are made to ensure distancing in the dining hall by opening up another hall to serve meals. Children are instructed not to touch their eyes, nose or mouths and to avoid touching each other as far as possible. Signages everywhere will announce the same.
All visitors reporting to school will be screened for respiratory symptoms and have their body temperature taken as a precautionary measure. Each visitor will be screened privately using a touchless forehead/ temporal artery thermometer. It is compulsory for visitors to wear a mask inside the campus and also a covering for the shoes.
The Reception and lobby area will be Out of Bounds for students so that they will not come in contact with visitors. The Weekly Boarder outing will be temporarily suspended. All other scheduled holidays remain cancelled. Diwali will be celebrated in the school itself.
Heritage Girls School is fortunate that we have most of our staff on board. Those few coming from outside will have to follow precautionary measures before entering.The Support and Housekeeping staff have been instructed to maintain strict hygiene. Deep cleaning of school facilities along with disinfectant treatment of the entire school several times per week.
Daily disinfecting of classroom furniture and material, playground equipment, transportation vehicles, building entry access systems, and high traffic areas within school facilities.The Staff nurse is available inside the campus 24/7. If the student is unwell, she is shifted to the infirmary, and if she develops a fever, cough or difficulty breathing immediate medical attention is given to the student. If any child shows cold or flu symptoms, they will be separated them from other children and kept in the infirmary.
The Medical Officer will be available 24/7 on call in case of a need to attend to a sick child. Parents will be requested to take the child home in he deems it fit.Signages to share important health and safety information with students, staff, and visitors, have been placed all around the school.
Precaution is better than cure.The daily menu of the students is planned to meet the nutritional needs of children. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, food high in protein and boost immunity will be given to children. We will also be providing them daily ayurvedic Kadha as an immunity booster.
Students will be involved in physical activities for at least 60 mins in a day to build up their stamina and to help them stay fit and to build up their immunity.The Management endeavors to provide all precautions to our children. The idea is to make HGS a safe zone.