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SOPs for partial reopening of schools for Classes 9-12 issued

India continues to grapple with pandemic as the number of covid-19 cases continue to increase. The total tally of cases on Tuesday reached 42,85,174 with 73,208 people succumbing to the highly infectious disease.

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New Delhi: In the backdrop of ongoing ‘Unlock 4’, partial resumption of activities in schools for students of classes 9-12 will be allowed from 21 September, the union health ministry on Tuesday. Guidelines have also been issued for school operations amidst Covid-19 pandemic.

However, only schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to open. Assemblies, sports and events, which can lead to overcrowding, are strictly prohibited in the schools that are opting to start operations. The government also said that online or distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.

“Students of class 9th to 12th shall be permitted to visit their school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/guardians. Such visits and teacher – student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner,” state the standard operation procedures (SOPs) issued by the health ministry.

Further, students, teachers and employees living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the school. Students, teachers and employees shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones as per the health ministry guidelines adding that the schools that were used as quarantine centres will be properly sanitized and deep cleaned before partial functioning is resumed.

Only asymptomatic people (teachers, employees and students) will be allowed in the school premises as per the guidelines. If a teacher/employee/student is found to be symptomatic, he/she should be referred to nearest health centre, the SOPs state.

The guidelines stated that the concerned teaching- and non-teaching employees (up to 50 % of the strength) may be called to schools for online teaching/tele-counselling and related work. Apart from mandatory masks, following regular sanitisation, respiratory etiquettes, hand washing in schools, the health ministry said that at all times, the teachers and students shall maintain a physical distancing of 6 feet apart, wherever feasible. Seating arrangement has to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc.

The health ministry has advised that weather permitting, outdoor spaces may be utilized for conducting teacher student interactions, keeping in view the safety and security of students and physical distancing protocols.

“Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, chairs, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made Page 5 of 5 mandatory in all class rooms, laboratories, lockers, parking areas, other common areas etc. before beginning of classes and at the end of the day,” the guidelines state.

As during the covid-19 pandemic, there have been instances of mental health issues among students, the health ministry has said that the schools should ensure regular counselling is done for students and teachers reporting mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It is advisable that teachers, school counsellors and school health workers should work in unison to ensure emotional safety of the students, say SOPs.

Similar SOPs were also issued on preventive measures to contain spread of covid-19 in skill or entrepreneurship training institutions, higher educational institutions conducting doctoral courses and post graduate studies in technical and professional programs requiring laboratory /experimental work.

India continues to grapple with pandemic as the number of covid-19 cases continue to increase. The total tally of cases on Tuesday reached 42,85,174 with 73,208 people succumbing to the highly infectious disease. According to health ministry, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the five states which account for 62% of the active cases. Maharashtra’s share is around 27% of the total active cases, which in terms of absolute numbers is 2.37 lakhs. This apart, nearly 70% of the COVID-19 related deaths are also being reported from 5 states, that is, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“The states where active cases are mostly concentrated are also, more or less, accounting for most of the deaths. Hence, from the perspective of public health, it is important to take targeted actions in these states, both by the state and Central Governments,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary.

India has been actively engaged in covid-19 vaccine development. The government on Tuesday said that Russia has requested India’s help in manufacturing of vaccine by Indian companies and conduct of Phase-III studies in India. Also, India attaches high importance to the request from a special friend and on both fronts, there has been considerable progress. “We are working with this vaccine candidate for manufacture as well as trial and regulatory facilitation, in the spirit of partnership and science for humanity. The outreach has been extended to the vaccine manufacturers in India,” said V.K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog.

“About four of them have already come forward, the others are in talks with the Russian counterparts and the Government is facilitating that process of creating a connect. There may be specific outcomes very soon in that regard. India can manufacture that vaccine in large and significant quantities. On the regulatory front, Indian scientists have looked at the data. There would be a need for Phase III trials in normal course of things,” he said.

India

Centre Ready To Discuss All Issues Of Farmers: Hardeep Singh Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri said the government is ready to talk to the farmers on every issue with an open heart.

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Hardeep Puri

New Delhi: In the midst of ongoing farmer protests against three farms laws, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said the Centre is willing to address “all genuine issues of the farmers”, which can be resolved through dialogue.

Speaking to ANI today, Union Minister said the government is ready to talk to the farmers on every issue with an open heart.

“Our senior leaders have invited farmers for talks and are willing to address genuine issues. I firmly hope that all their genuine demands will be considered and issues will be resolved,” Mr Puri said.

He also said farmers have been told to shift their protest to the designated place in Burari ground and whenever there will be talks, all the issues will be up for discussion.

Responding to the farmers’ organisations claim that the government was placing a condition for negotiation and it was not possible to negotiate in this manner, Mr Puri assured that the policies of the government were in the interest of the farmers and there was no condition.

“Talks are always held without preconditions or preconceived notions. I sincerely hope that the ministers will listen to all their genuine demands, they will be considered and whatever problems they have, it will be solved,” Mr Puri said.

It is worth noting that constant discussions are going on among top leadership to establish a dialogue with the protesting farmers. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have also appealed to the farmers to withdraw the movement.

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Cities

Amid cyclones, Andhra Police lends hand to disaster management

Policemen also took boats from the Fisheries Department to reach out to stranded people and also engaged the local revenue officials to supply food.

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Cyclone Nisarga

Amaravati: In the recent heavy rains, floods and very severe cyclonic storm Nivar, Andhra Pradesh Police was on the forefront to save lives, feed stranded people and bring order amid the chaos, officers said.

The state witnessed torrential downpours in October and November powered by back-to-back cyclones, resulting in almost all the water bodies overflowing, causing much trouble to the common man and farmers alike.

Amidst these conditions, police personnel from constables to Superintendents of Police were working round the clock to help people.

“We had deployed almost 1,500 people from the district force for cyclone duties. We also got one platoon of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). We were deployed continuously for almost 72 hours,” Prakasam’s Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal told IANS.

Amid incessant rain, policemen were deployed at all spots where the streams and water bodies were overflowing, at coastal villages, and to assist the district administration in evacuation.

“We assisted district administration in crowd control. At least 10 rescue operations were carried out in the district to save lives,” said Kaushal.

The SP said a special control and command post, equipped with radio communication, was set up in case mobile phones stopped working.

“Even till today (Monday) morning, we had deployed police in some places, preventing vehicles going in certain roads which were still under water,” he said.

Policemen also took boats from the Fisheries Department to reach out to stranded people and also engaged the local revenue officials to supply food.

In Nellore district, which bore the brunt of Nivar, along with Chittoor and Kadapa, three policemen carried a two-month-old baby to safety in Nellore town.

Policemen manned the Midatalavagu, a water body in spate near Kondapuram village to secure people and their movement.

They also monitored the rainwater inflows and outflows at Somasila dam where three gates were opened.

On National Highway 16 (NH 16), near Janardhan Reddy colony in Nellore, police supervised repairs to the road to prevent disruption of vehicle movement.

In similar fashion, police have also enabled the repair of a damaged bridge near Baghat Singh colony on NH 16 and also cleared many trees which were uprooted.

They also rescued two farmers from the middle of a raging water body after they were stuck there.

Not just the elements, police were also compelled to battle rumours.

On Monday, a Nellore district police official busted some rumours circulating claiming that the Kundaleru dam was breached.

–IANS

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India

‘Cheap stunts’: Shehla Rashid reacts to her estranged father’s charges

Shehla termed her father’s statement “absolutely disgusting and baseless” and said this was his reaction after a court barred him entry into their Srinagar house on November 17 in response to a complaint filed by the family against him under domestic violence.

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Shehla Rashid

Shehla Rashid, student activist and the former students’ union leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), on Monday denied her estranged father’s charges that she is involved in anti-national activities. Abdul Rashid Shora, in a letter to Jammu and Kashmir police chief, had also claimed there is a threat to his life from Shehla, her sister Asma and his wife Zubeda Shora as well as her security guard, according to reports.

Shehla rubbished these allegations and has instead accused her father of domestic violence. “Many of you must have come across a video of my biological father making wild allegations against me and my mum & sis. To keep it short and straight, he’s a wife-beater and an abusive, depraved man. We finally decided to act against him, and this stunt is a reaction to that,” Shehla tweeted, posting a three-page letter.

In a series of tweets, Shehla talked about her father. She said that the was not a political matter, “as it has been going on ever since I came to senses” and also tweeted a letter to him from the mohalla committee in 2005 asking him not to abuse them.

“He had never, in his wildest dreams, imagined that his obedient wife and timid daughters would ever speak up against him. Since he was restrained from entering home by the Hon’ble Court, he’s trying to derail the judicial process by resorting to cheap stunts,” she said in one of the tweets.

“One may talk endlessly about justice, but charity really does begin at home. We have finally decided to not bear abuse silently, as silence only emboldens abusers. Here’s the court order restraining him from entering home dated 17-11-2020. Anything he says is an afterthought,” she added in her last tweet.

Rashid has also demanded a probe against the non-government organisations (NGOs) run by Shehla and accused her of having accepting money to join politics in the Kashmir valley, a charge denied by her.

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