COVID-19: Unlock – The Way Ahead – Part II

Issuance of various SOPs to be followed

 The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (“MoHFW”) has issued SOPs for the following activities to ensure social distancing and to contain spread of Covid-19:

Preventive Measures for Offices:

  • Any officer and staff residing in containment zone should inform the same to supervisory officer and not attend the office till containment zone is de-notified. Such staff should be permitted to work from home and it will not be counted as leave period;
  • Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions;
  • All officers and staff / visitors to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/mask has to be worn at all times inside the office premises;
  • Meetings, as far as possible, should be conducted through video conferencing;
  • Staggering of office hours, lunch hours/coffee breaks to be done, as far as feasible; and
  • Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on drinking and hand washing stations/areas.

Measures to be taken on occurrence of cases and closure of workplace due to occurrence of one or two cases have also been detailed under the SOP. MoHFW has also released SOPs for Preventive Measures to be undertaken by Malls, Hotels and other Hospitality Units and Restaurants. However, who shall be responsible for monitoring the effective enforcement of these SOPs remains unclear.

Education Sector

Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Education Sector saw a huge shift from the conventional mode of education (i.e. physical classes) to a technology driven mode (through various online platforms). The Central Government along with the State Government took various measures such as postponing exams, launching free courses and modules to promote online learning, etc. However, the higher education institutions and schools in rural areas still lack the basic infrastructure to implement online learning with constraints around availability of technology and digital content.

As per the Order issued by MHA on 30th May 2020, the decision to open Schools, Colleges, Educational/ Training Institutions will be taken in the month of July, 2020, pursuant to the prevailing situation of the Covid-19 pandemic at that point in time. With the Schools, Colleges, Educational/ Training Institutions still shut, the key focus now should be to further strengthen and ramp up the digital resources and encourage investments in technology from rural schools to higher education institutions.

Charulata (Associate)

Go to Part I

Go to Part III

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