Motijheel Ideal School and College has completed cleaning classrooms to begin classes following instructions of the education ministry. It has also stocked up on hand sanitisers and masks for students in case they forget to carry them to school.
Amid a decline in Covid infections, the government announced to reopen educational institutions, except for universities, on 12 September – after around 18 months of closure – as per recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 (NTAC).
At least 80% of the teachers and staff of the institutions must be vaccinated before the reopening, according to the NTAC.
They will be able to conduct classes and do other work at schools and colleges at least 14 days after receiving the second shot of a Covid vaccine. In some cases, permission may be granted two weeks after the 1st shot, the NTAC said.
Professor Dr Syed Golam Faruk, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, said the authorities had directed district- and upazila-level officials to make a list of teachers not yet inoculated.
"We will not allow any teacher in school if they are not vaccinated. We will not put students' lives at risk," he said.
The Ideal School authorities said 90% of its nearly 500 teachers had already got Covid shots.
The others have been asked to complete the registration process for vaccination and take the jabs as soon as possible, said Principal Dr Shahan Ara Begum. "I believe we will be able to run classes maintaining health guidelines," she said.
During a visit to the school, staffers were seen setting benches apart for social distancing.
Almost all of the 15 institutions, including five in the capital, that The Business Standard contacted said they were ready to resume classes following the instructions given.
The NTAC suggested setting up hand washing facilities and adhering to general hygiene, and said students above 18 years should be immunised before attending in-person classes.
Standard and correct sized masks should be distributed to all students. Interactions between teachers, students and other staff need to be monitored and reported daily. And in order to avoid gatherings, the committee recommended conducting classes of different grades on separate days in a week and suspension of assembly.
In residential schools and madrasas, cafeterias, dining rooms, TV and sports rooms must be closed and there should be no sharing of beds and prayer mats.
Schools and educational institutions must ensure that everyone wears a mask, otherwise actions will be taken, said the Covid advisory committee.
Educational institutions have to take all preparations to resume classes by Wednesday, said Golam Faruk, DG of the secondary education directorate.
There are around 2 lakh educational institutions in the country from the primary to higher secondary level with 4.5 crore students and more than 12 lakh teachers.
Earlier, Education Minister Dipu Moni said 85% of teachers had received Covid jabs across the country.
Qamrul Islam Rashed, headmaster of Sirajpur Government Primary School in Noakhali's Companiganj upazila, said all of the school's seven teachers and two other staffers had been vaccinated.
"We have prepared to restart classes following the [education] ministry's directives," he said.
Abdul Motaleb, assistant upazila education officer in Companiganj, said more than 90% of teachers of 90 schools in the upazila had received vaccines. The others have registered for shots.
Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinees of this year and the next year and students of Class V will attend classes six days a week. There are about 90,000 of them.
The remaining 3.1 crore students from the primary to secondary level will have classes only for one day a week.
Meanwhile, about 500 schools in 10 districts, including Jamalpur, Gaibandha, Rajbari, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat, have been flooded and they will not be able to resume classes until water flows out.
Sorry state of kindergartens
About 55% of 8 lakh teachers of kindergartens have received vaccines, said the Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad.
Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury, president of the Oikya Parishad, said most of the teachers were below 30 years, which was why they could not take the vaccines.
"A good number of teachers have left the profession and they are unlikely to come back. We will face a shortage of teachers after reopening," he added.
Even 10,000 schools out of 60,000 have closed permanently. The rest of the schools are preparing to reopen.