Ministry of Education on Wednesday issued guidelines regarding precautions to be observed by schools to combat the ill-effects of the heatwave. In the guidelines, the Ministry said, school hours may start early and get over before noon. It said, timing may be from 7.00 A.M. onwards and number of school hours per day may be reduced. 

The Ministry said, sports or other outdoor activities which expose students directly to the sunlight may be appropriately adjusted in the early morning. It said, school assembly should be conducted in covered area or in classrooms with reduced timing. The Ministry said, similar care may be taken during dispersal after school is over.

It said, school bus or van should not be over-crowded. It should not carry students more than the seating capacity. Drinking water and First Aid Kit should be available in the bus and van. Students coming to school on foot or bicycle should be advised to keep their head covered. Parents should be sensitised to pick-up the students themselves, to the extent possible, to avoid public transport and minimise their time out in the sun. School bus or van may be parked in a shaded area.

The Ministry said, students may be advised to carry their own water bottles, caps and umbrellas and use them when out in the open. School should ensure availability of sufficient potable water at multiple places preferably at temperature lower than that of surroundings. Water cooler or earthen pots (pitchers) may be used for providing cold water. In every period, teacher should remind students to sip water from their water bottles. 

While going back home, schools must ensure that students are carrying water in their bottles. Students should be made aware of the importance of proper hydration to combat the heat wave and advised to drink sufficient water at regular interval. With increased hydration, use of washrooms may increase and schools should be prepared for it by keeping the washrooms hygienic and clean.

The Education Ministry said, heat can spoil food. Therefore, hot-cooked meals under PM POSHAN must be served hot and fresh. In-Charge teacher may check the food before serving. Children carrying tiffins may be advised not to carry food that can turn stale quickly. Canteens in schools should ensure that fresh and healthy food is served. Children may be advised to have light food during lunch or tiffin.    

It said, school should ensure that all fans are functional and that all classrooms are properly ventilated. Availability of alternate power backup may be arranged, if possible. Curtains or blinds or newspaper, etc. may be used to stop the sunlight entering directly into the classroom. If any local traditional practices are being followed by the school to keep the surroundings cool such as ‘Khus’ curtains, bamboo or jute chiks, they may be continued.

The Ministry said, students may be allowed to wear loose and light coloured cotton material dress. Schools may relax norms regarding uniform such as neck ties. Canvas shoes may be allowed instead of leather shoes. Students may be advised to preferably wear full-sleeve shirt.

It said, sachets of ORS solution or salt and sugar solution to treat mild heat-stroke should be readily available in the schools.

Teaching and non-teaching staff should be trained to provide first aid to students in case of mild heat-stroke. Schools must ensure quick access to nearest hospital or clinic or doctor or nurse, in case of heat-stroke. Essential medical kits should be available in school.

The Ministry said, Do’s and Don’ts regarding heat wave should be displayed at prominent places in the school. It said, children may be allowed to bring their own transparent water bottle in the examination hall. Examination Centres should ensure availability of potable drinking water which is easily accessible to the candidates at the centres. 

These centres should ensure that the candidates are promptly supplied water when asked for at their seats in the examination hall. Examination Halls may be provided with fans. Students waiting area at the Examination Centre may be in a shaded or covered area with provision of water. Linkage of Examination Centres should be made with local health worker and medical facilities for any emergency.

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