Schools gear up for November opening

MUSCAT: Private schools in the Sultanate are giving final shape to their standard operating procedures when they resume classes on November 1 after the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced COVID-19 protocol during the weekend.

The MoE has prescribed a set of precautionary measures including physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and spacing inside school buses in addition to tweaking school hours.

The Board of Indian Schools in the Sultanate, the biggest community chain of 21 schools and more than 46,000 students on the rolls, which commenced online classes since April this year, is working on reopening. “We will soon finalise a Standard Operational Procedures based on the ministry’s instructions for conducting classes,” a representative of the Board of Directors said.

He said BoD is awaiting detailed guidelines and instructions from the MoE. The board is planning to roll out a survey among stakeholders to understand their concerns which will help finalise the SOP.

“We will set up wet and dry sanitising mats and sanitiser food pedal along with partitioned tables in classrooms to maintain social distancing,” Thasleem Khan, promoter of Brilliant Youth Private School in Seeb, said.  “We have also installed UV based air purifiers in our schools which is one of the first of its kind in Oman to sterilise virus, bacteria and germs in air.”

The school hours will be curtailed to some 3 hours to 5 hours with 50 percent to 33 percent of strength depending upon their density. School buses are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

Schools are planning to run awareness campaigns for teachers, parents and caretakers to ward off fear and in the minds of the children.