PREPAREDNESS ON REOPENING SCHOOLS SAFELY

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Hyderabad , July 2020: Popcorn Furniture, India’s largest educational furniture manufacturing company, held a webinar on ‘Reopening schools safely post COVID-19’. The one and a half hour long webinar was attended by five renowned panelists from education, health and sanitization sectors, and was followed by an insightful half-an-hour Q&A session.

The session was organized with the aim to discuss a framework and guidelines to support educational institutes in facilitating the reopening of schools. It covered the changes in the education module post the lockdown and a way forward to the new SOPs framed in order to respond to the child’s learning, health and safety needs. The webinar reported the participation of over 1000 attendees including teachers, principals, school owners, school trustees, consultants, students and media. Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture was the moderator. Dr. Shayama Chona, Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan Renowned Educationalist, Dr. Monika Arora, Director Health Promotion Division, Public Health Foundation, Dr. Vidya Gupta, Senior Consultant in Pediatrics & Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director GD Goenka Group, Mr. Sumit Nadgir, CEO, HiCare MD, TrueNorth were the five eminent panelists for the session.

The major points discussed during the webinar were- the key challenges and effects in reopening schools post COVID-19, trust issues between parents and school authorities, challenges or difficulties for differently abled students, sanitization and safety process and implementation of hybrid education module. Adding to the same, panelist gave their quick opinion on public health guidelines and detailed SOPs that can be followed for student’s safety. The webinar had a long Q&A session and the questions ranged from physical to virtual problems faced by school kids, parents and teachers during the lockdown, discussion on getting a blue print by schools to ensure the safety of kids and a relief package from government to educational institutions.

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Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture, said, We at Popcorn have sold furniture to over 8000 schools across India and abroad and we have always been concerned about the safety of the kids. We wanted to do our best to keep these kids safe once schools reopen. We came up with the idea of doing a webinar on “Reopening schools safely” as we really feel that a society cannot open fully without reopening the schools. We worked with a few experts and came up with a health curriculum on reopening schools safely which is now on our website. It was amazing to see so many thousand people on the webinar as our intension was to help as many stakeholders in the reopening of schools safely”.

Dr. Shayama Chona, Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan Renowned Educationalist, said,” I have attended so many webinars but I have to say that one stood out as the most exceptional one I have ever done. It was the amazing effort by Popcorn Furniture and it stood out because of thousands participants and the amazing panelists. Each one was a master in their field and had done a lot of research on reopening schools safely. The purpose of the webinar was to help the schools and the society.”

Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director GD Goenka Group, said,Reopening schools will be a practice in the art of collaboration of all the major stakeholders, management, parents and the students. Winston Churchill said “never let a good crisis go to waste”. There is a big opportunity in the crisis for a major channel of our education system. The need of the hour is to be adaptable, patient and resilient.”

Dr. Monika Arora, Director Health Promotion Division, Public Health Foundation, said,” I loved that the webinar had such a multi-disciplinary panel and audience. They were bringing out such relevant sources spreading the reopening of schools safely as we were all tied by the common thread of concern for the safety of our kids. I know that there are lot of issues all stakeholders whether its panelists or schools are facing regarding the challenge of safety and there is a lot we can learn from connection which have already reopened the schools.”

Dr. Vidya Gupta, Senior Consultant in Pediatrics & Neonatology, Apollo Hospital, said, “I think the webinar was very important to develop a systemized thinking as to how schools should reopen. The multi-disciplinary group that looked into the different aspects of opening schools was an excellent choice. I am glad that I could contribute to alleviating the worries and concerns that people have had about reopening schools.”

Mr. Sumit Nadgir, CEO, HiCare MD, TrueNorth, said,” The topic of reopening schools safely was a very relevant topic and was definitely a need of the hour. Whether schools go for a staggered or full opening, the webinar has immense information to help them out to reopen safely. The panel was an amazing mix from different disciplines and I am sure that with great sanitization and safety measures, we can all look at a safe opening for schools and educational institutions.”

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