Never in recent memory have students gone without a comprehensive education and the classroom experience for as long as they have in the past 18+ months. Schools and colleges, usually silent only during festive holidays and summer breaks, went from being temples of learning to empty shells.
But the tide of the pandemic seems to have turned. State after state has permitted educational institutions to reopen, but with a string of riders and conditions. Urban local bodies have issued detailed SOPs, and students, parents, teachers and management boards are all optimistic and enthusiastic about a return to in-person education.
The parental consent letters are signed. All teachers are vaccinated. A mask mandate is firmly in place. Benches have been spaced out. Schools are functioning in shifts. And yet, only a trickle of students has returned to schools and colleges. Clearly, the fear of Covid still hangs in the still air of shuttered classrooms.
At the time of writing, no vaccine has yet been administered to anyone under 18. This group constitutes the majority of India’s student population. Families are unwilling to send their ‘unprotected’ wards back to school…unless the schools can demonstrate that their indoor environment is as safe as a student’s home.
Enter service providers, who possess the knowledge, skills, manpower and equipment to maintain an exacting level of cleanliness along with the newly important component of sanitisation. As schools redefine their partnerships with service providers or enter into new agreements where there were none before, FM companies are at the forefront of bringing everyone back to school.
From reopening long-shuttered campuses to sanitising classrooms, maintaining hygiene in student hostels to deciding what to use for it all, Mrigank Warrier, Assistant Editor, Clean India Journal delves into the varied aspects of making schools safe.