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Sikkim's Project 'Aagaz' to make schools safe amid pandemic

 
Gangtok, Nov 14 (IANS) Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Sunday launched Project "Aagaz" to make school environments safe, maintain health and hygiene measures, and extend psychosocial and nutritional support to students to strengthen their overall health and well-being in the wake of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Officials said that under this project, launched by the Education Department, approximately 900 students, 300 teachers, 75 caregivers, and 200 community level workers from all the districts of the state are going to be trained about how to adapt and keep pace with the 'new normal'.

"In some schools, wellness centres would be set up to provide the necessary information and equipment related to Covid-19. The project 'Aagaz' would involve a range of protective and supportive facilities, recovery and rehabilitation plans and optimal communication and outreach in the far-flung areas of Sikkim," an official statement said.

The project, which was launched in association with New Delhi-based Sulabh School Sanitation Club and Alkem Labs Pvt Ltd, focuses on health and education measures and includes specific guidance on school disinfection and the provision of inclusive, accessible, gender-sensitive wash facilities.

"Feelings of anxiety, depression and stress that have been developed among the students shall also be addressed. The project will empower the students both mentally and physically to face any future disaster. The project 'Aagaz' is just the beginning. This project has been launched to seek solutions for the problems faced by students after the pandemic," the statement said.

Sulabh Sanitation Social Reform Movement founder Bindeshwar Pathak said that water and hygiene facilities would be a crucial part of schools reopening safely.

"We should look at opportunities to improve hygiene measures, including hand washing, respiratory etiquette - coughing and sneezing into the elbow, physical distancing, and cleaning procedures for facilities," he said at the launch.

--IANS
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