The government of Tamil Nadu has ordered that no teaching shall be done online for children at the pre-primary level and that each session of class for students of other classes be restricted to a maximum of 45 minutes. The guidelines to be followed for online classes by schools in Tamil Nadu were released by the Department of School Education. The guidelines were also submitted to the Madras High Court, which is hearing a batch of petitions, opposing online classes being conducted for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines issued on Thursday elaborated on the various facets of precautions and preparations to be taken by parents, teachers and other stakeholders before, during and after the online classes.
Here are a few important points from the order:
Guidelines for schools and teachers
>No online classes for pre-primary classes for teaching. Teachers can call parents for interaction, that too not exceeding 30 minutes.
>For students of Classes 1 to 8, a maximum of two sessions per day is allowed, with each of them upto 30 to 45 minutes long. For students of Classes 9 to 12, a maximum of four sessions per day, each lasting for 30 to 45 minutes, is permitted. No child shall be compelled to attend online classes, the guidelines stated.
>A break of 10 to 15 minutes shall be given between two sessions. A teacher can take a maximum of six sessions a day and a maximum of 28 sessions a week.
>Classes may be scheduled between 9 am and 5 pm on all working days. All other electronic communication about classes and assignments be restricted between 8 am to 6 pm.
>Attendance can be a tool only for marking the need for extra care in academics and not for punitive or financial purposes, the guidelines stated, adding that it would not be considered for performance evaluation.
>While assessments and assignments can be done online, none of it can be made mandatory or be counted towards final grading/marking/performance evaluation.
Guidelines for parents
>Parents shall regularly interact with children to know their physical and mental well being and watch out for signs of anxiety, depression or anger during digital learning, the guidelines stated. â€śCheck if the child is being secretive about their online activities. For example, not talking to you, deleting browser history, using encryption softwares or changing the screen display when they see you, could be signs. Better to talk openly about your own internet use and encourage your child to do the same,â€ť it added.
>Combine screentime with offline play time. Parents may also ensure some exercises or yoga during childrenâ€™s break from classes. Keep TV or laptops in the common area and definitely out of bedrooms. Discuss netiquettes with children and talk about not posting hurtful messages about others, pictures or videos of others without their consent and to think before posting one's own photos and videos online, the government said.