Covid-19: The Preventive Protocol for Educational Institutions

Corona virus named as COVID-19 emanated from Wuhan, China and as of today it has its footprints in more than 185 countries across the globe. There are over 3.5 million people who have been reported infected and more than 2,50,000 people who have died across the world. This has been considered one of the fastest growing influenza virus. 
In terms of WHO,  COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and might recover without requiring special treatment.  People who have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular issue, lungs infections, kidney problems etc. and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death. 

Common Symptoms are:
·       Fever 
·       Sneezing
·       Tiredness 
·       Dry Cough.
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Aches and Pains
  • Sore throat
  • Few people will report diarrhea, nausea or a runny nose, as well.
  • Chill
  • Chilling fever
Prevention: To prevent infection and to slow transmission, do the following: 
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub/ sanitizer. 
  • Maintain at least 1 meter distance between you and people coughing or sneezing. 
  • Avoid touching your face. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. 
  • Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs. 
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people and gathering.

COVID-19, has already been declared as pandemic, and is spreading rapidly taking the world by surprise, causing a great deal of uncertainty for the next phase of the disease as well as for the global economy. Epidemiologists suggest that the virus is highly transmissible and can cause nationally incapacitating epidemics once transmission within the community is established. Every Industry thus needs to chalk out strategic approach to tackle its further spread.

Irrespective of the nature of the operations we are engaged in our industry, certain preventive protocol will have to put into practice. This idea is sourced from the fundamental that we belong to varied and different environmental conditions. In these circumstances, like in the war, no one can be considered above the law and yes, this formulation of understanding has always paid the results. It is more so when the survival and existence of the entire humanity is at stake. Therefore, as good netizens, we must submit ourselves to this much needed scrutiny. 

For our collective health assurance and preventive protocol, few examples of such preventive equipment needed to be installed at our workplaces – refer to Appendix - 1. First example (as illustration) is of a full body sanitization machine that can be installed at the main entrance of the department/ college/ institute to ensure that every visitor – existing or new, senior or junior, necessarily, has to pass through this machine. 

Besides, we also need to provide PPE – Personal Protection Equipment, to certain category of employees who are constantly operating in vulnerable conditions and need extra protection from any undue exposure to harmful environment. To all such employees we need to provide personal protective gear. An example of PPE is placed at Appendix – 2, that can be procured by all departments/ colleges/ institutes. 

We at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) cannot operate in isolation, thus need to follow a comprehensive and well-structured preventive approach. An elaborate department/ section-wise preventive approach to be followed by our university departments and affiliated colleges/ institutes has been compiled and placed in the chapters hereafter for strict compliance by all stakeholders. Meanwhile a generic list of common points is also enumerated below for adherence:

·      Every higher educational institution has to follow Social Distancing guidelines besides avoiding large gathering for next academic year 
·      The medical history of each and every staff member and students is required to be maintained for safety reasons and this should be done by submitting the self-disclosure on the day of their resuming the duty/ classes. Self-disclosure form placed at Annexure – 1.
·      Students and staff should submit self-disclosure related to any one from their family members having been affected / treated with corona treatment. 
·      Sanitization and Fumigation of entire campus/ classrooms and college premises should be carried out scrupulously. 
·      All staff and visitors should be subjected to non-contact thermal scanner check or temperature check at the time of entry 
·      For initial few months colleges/ Institutes should install a gate with sanitizer spray machine at the entrance of college and each and every staff should enter through that gate.
·      Use of Hand sanitizer and face masks should be made compulsory until the end of December 2020 or till further order 
·      Each institute should introduce and run health and hygiene awareness program and every student must undergo such program
·      First aid kits in the department/ college/ institute should be fully equipped at all times including certain medicines related to flu and fever.
·      Every Department/ College/ Institute should keep their Ambulance always in alert/ ready mode with its driver and assistant always available.
·      Institutions should incorporate disaster mitigation and post disaster training programs primarily to NSS and NCC students. 
·      Departments/ Colleges/ Institutes need to be vigilant in observing and identifying any Corona like symptoms amongst their faculty and students. If found, they should be immediately reported to the respective health centres.

Every challenge throws up new opportunities and it is up to the wise men how they take everything in their stride. This lockdown because of Covid-19 has also opened plethora of new windows of learning provided we are ready for the change – the change that will take us to untrodden highways.  Thus, to mitigate any academic loss to students, university additionally emphasizes on the teaching fraternity to look for new horizons and devise innovative ways and means of imparting learning. Following steps therefore, are suggested for academic persuasion to teaching fraternity.

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