Punjab coronavirus update: In view of the reopening of schools in Punjab, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Thursday directed all civil surgeons to ensure Covid 19 surveillance in schools as per standard operating procedures (SOPs) recommended by a committee of experts.
The Health Minister said to prevent any major outbreak of Covid 19 among children in schools, instructions had been issued to all civil surgeons to prepare a micro-plan, which provided the data of suspected cases and Covid tests to be conducted in their respective districts.
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Sidhu said it was the responsibility of school managements to educate their teachers, staff and students on prevention measures. Schools must develop a schedule for daily cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, he added.
He said schools should enforce the policy of “staying home if unwell” and also ensure students or staff, who have been in contact with a Covid case, to stay home for 14 days.
However, physical distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals can be maintained by spacing of desks, staging recesses, breaks and lunch breaks; limiting the mixing of classes and of age groups; considering smaller classes or alternating attendance schedules, and ensuring good ventilation in classrooms, frequent hand and respiratory hygiene, and environmental cleaning measures should be in place to limit exposure.
The Health Minister said a class must be suspended and quarantined for 14 days if one case was confirmed and school must be suspended for 14 days if two or more than two cases were detected. He said if one-third of the schools in a city or town or block were closed, then all schools in that geography must be closed.