Unlock 5: Schools, theaters can reopen
Cinemas, theaters, multiplexes were also permitted to open with conditions from October 15. Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted to open, for which, SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce. Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be permitted to open
The Ministry of Home Affairs left it to the States and Union Territories to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions after October 15 in a graded manner.
Earlier, schools were partially reopened from September 21 in compliance with Unlock 4 guidelines. Cinemas, theaters, multiplexes were also permitted to open with conditions from October 15. It said, “Activities permitted from 15th October 2020, in areas outside the Containment Zones–“Cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes will be permitted to open with upto 50 per cent of their seating capacity, for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
Further MHA said that, Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted to open, for which, SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce. Swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S).
The Ministry said entertainment parks and similar places will be permitted to open, for which the SOP will be issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
In fresh guidelines for further reopening of the country amid the pandemic, the MHA stated, “For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State and UT governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner. The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school or institution management, based on their assessment of the situation.”
The Ministry, however, clarified that online or distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and should be encouraged. “Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.”
The guidelines added, “Students may attend schools or institutions only with the written consent of parents. Attendance must not be enforced and must depend entirely on parental consent.”
States and UTs have been asked to prepare their own standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the guidelines to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.
“Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of States and UTs. The Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the MHA,” it added.