Indian gov’t directs schools to reduce hours, relax uniform norms to combat heatwave
India’s federal education ministry has issued guidelines for schools to combat the ill effects of the ongoing heatwave, officials said Thursday.
With India Meteorological Department (IMD) declaring a heatwave in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) from Friday, the guidelines say schools should reduce hours, relax uniform norms and restrict outdoor activities.
“School hours may start early and get over before noon. The timing may be from 7:00 a.m. local time onwards. The number of school hours per day may be reduced. Sports and other outdoor activities which expose students directly to the sunlight may be appropriately adjusted in the early morning,” read the guidelines. “School assembly should be conducted in covered areas or classrooms with reduced timing. Similar care may be taken during dispersal after school is over.”
According to the directive, school buses and vans should not be overcrowded and there should be drinking water and first aid kit available in every vehicle.
The ministry also said teachers should remind students to sip water from their water bottles at regular intervals.
Last month IMD said northwest and central India recorded the highest maximum temperatures for the month of April in 122 years.
India, on average, also recorded its warmest March in 122 years.
A heatwave had sent the mercury soaring across India, with the temperature in New Delhi rising to 46 degrees centigrade.
Regarding uniform, the ministry said students must be allowed to wear loose and light-colored cotton outfits.
The ministry also said children are advised not to carry their tiffins as the food might turn stale or get spoiled in the heat. Instead, it asked schools to provide hot-cooked and fresh meals under a government program.
Additionally, schools must be equipped with Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) sachets and school staff should be trained to provide first aid to students in case of mild heat stroke.