Schools are organising training sessions for security guards and those involved in housekeeping, telling them to be “strict with the students” about rules and to follow the protocols themselves as a precaution against Covid-19.
The staff members are being told to regularly clean door knobs and taps after every use, keep an eye on whether everyone is wearing a mask properly and not allow parents on the campus when students arrive or leave.
The training started in most places after the government had last week announced that schools could reopen for students of Classes IX to XII from February 12.
“Many of the security personnel have been here for some time and they tend to be soft with children. But from now they will have to be very strict and merciless in following the protocols. For example they cannot allow any child on the campus without a mask,”
said Amita Prasad, the director of Indus Valley World School.
At Indus Valley, the guards have been told to ensure that parents do not enter the campus when students arrive in the morning or leave for home.
“Earlier, parents or guardians would wait inside the campus. During dispersal (of students) some of them would park two-wheelers on the campus. This has to stop and security guards have been trained accordingly,” Prasad said.
At some institutions, the training sessions are being held thrice a week. Once the campuses reopen, the sessions will be held only on Saturdays.
“We are doing everything possible to train our staff who clean, sanitise and operate lifts to understand the uncompromising importance of following the Covid safety protocol,” said Suvina Shunglu, the principal of Sri Sri Academy.
Once schools reopen, the duty of the guards will include measuring the temperature of the students and others at the gate and attendants must ensure everyone santises his or her hands while entering the campus.
“The door knobs, toilets and the railings will have to be cleaned frequently. The schedule has been drawn up and they (the staff) have to adhere to it,” said Sharmila Bose, the director of Sushila Birla Girls’ School. “There is an added dimension to their role because they are now a second pair of eyes, in addition to the teachers.”
Training the housekeeping and security staff was always a part of the school routine, but following the Covid outbreak, the focus of sensitisation has widened beyond child abuse and upkeep of the campus.
“We are telling them that they could be of help to children to stick to the protocols and also they need to take care of themselves to keep others safe,” said Papia Lahiri, a teacher who is in charge of safety and inclusion at Sri Sri Academy.
The staff members at Sri Sri Academy are being told how to wear a mask, the personal hygiene everyone has to follow and how many children can be allowed in a washroom at a time.
With the increase in workload, the duty of attendants and guards has been split into shifts and days so they do not burn themselves out, the head of a school said.
“Their role has extended. Also, earlier sweeping could be done twice a day, but now sweeping and scrubbing has to be done constantly. We can’t compromise on that and hence we have divided them in shifts,” said Hilda Peacock, the director of Gems Akademia International School.