Unlock 4: Schools, colleges to remain closed until September 30
New Delhi, August 29, 2020
Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30 under the guidelines announced today by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the fourth phase of Unlock 4 from September 1, providing more relaxations in the lockdown imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines said that, outside the Containment Zones, all activities would be permitted under Unlock 4 except those which are specifically prohibited.
The order said Metro rail would be allowed to operate with effect from September 7 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) and the Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, the Standard Operating Procedure will be issued by MOHUA.
Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations, with a ceiling of 100 persons, will be permitted with effect from September 21 with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
However, marriage related gatherings with number of guests not exceeding 50 and funeral/ last rites related gatherings with number of persons not exceeding 20 will continue to be allowed upto September 20, after which the ceiling of 100 persons will apply.
Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and similar places will remain closed. However, open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from September 21.
International air travel of passengers will remain banned, except as permitted by MHA.
As far as schools, colleges and other educational and coaching institutions are concerned, the guidelines said online and distance learning shall continue to be permitted and encouraged.
States and Union Territories (UTs) may permit upto 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching, telecounselling and related work, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from September 21. For this, the SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians and will be permitted with effect from September 21, for which SOP will be issued by MoHFW.
Skill or Entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other Ministries of Government of India or State Governments.
National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted.
These will be permitted with effect from September 21, for which SOP will be issued by MoHFW.
Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view incidence of COVID-19 in the States and UTs concerned.
The order said that the National Directives for COVID-19 Management shall continue to be followed throughout the country.
The lockdown shall remainn in force in the Containment Zones till September 30.
Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission.
Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Guidelines of MoHFW shall be effectively implemented for the above purpose, the order said.
These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTS and information will be shared with MOHFW.
State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government, it said.
There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
Movement by passenger trains; domestic passenger air travel; movement of persons on Vande Bharat and Air Transport Bubble flights; and sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated as per SOPs issued.
Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes, the guideline said.
According to it, the use of the Aarogya Setu app enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.
"With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.
"District authorities may advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk," it said.
"State/ UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.
(ii) For the enforcement of social distancing, State/ UT Governments may, as far as possible, use the provisions of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973.
(iii) All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures.
"Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable," the order added.