Centre issues new guidelines for school amid heatwave; Reduced timings, relaxed uniform norms

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With the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) declaring a heatwave in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) starting on Friday, the ministry of education has published guidelines for schools, advising them to loosen uniform requirements, limit outside activities, and change class schedules.

“The school day may begin early and end before noon. The start time might be as early as 7:00 a.m. It is possible that the amount of school hours each day will be lowered. Sports and other outside activities that expose pupils to direct sunlight should be changed early in the morning “the instructions said.

“School assemblies should be held in covered spaces or in classrooms with a shorter time limit. After school, similar caution should be exercised during dispersal “it noted.

The suggestions came after parents of children in Delhi schools asked the government last week to either alter or advance summer vacation dates due to the severe heat and high temperatures. To protect youngsters from the persistent heat, some states, including Haryana and Punjab, have either modified school hours or announced an early summer break.

A heat wave had caused temperatures to surge across India, with New Delhi reaching 46 degrees Celsius. With a monthly average maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius, New Delhi had its second warmest April in 72 years.

School buses/vans should not be overloaded and should be parked in shady areas for transportation to and from school. In the vehicle, there should be drinking water and a first-aid kit. Students who walk or ride their bikes to school should be reminded to cover their heads. To reduce children’s exposure to the sun, the government also advises against taking public transportation.

According to the official statement, children should not carry their tiffins because the food may become stale or spoil in the heat. Instead, under PM POSHAN, hot, freshly cooked meals must be supplied. Additionally, schools must carry Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) sachets and critical medical kits, as well as first-aid training for both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Exam centres should allow students to carry their own transparent water bottles and ensure that drinking water is readily available during the current exam season. Aside from that, exam rooms may be equipped with fans, and waiting areas should be stocked with water.

The ministry recommended students to “drink sufficient water even if not thirsty” and to stay hydrated by drinking ORS, lassi, torani (rice water), lemon water, and other beverages. It suggested against eating heavy, junk, stale, or spicy foods, as well as going outside when hungry.

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