As the schools across the country are gearing up for reopening from mid-October, the Union education ministry has issued guidelines for the safe preparation and delivery of mid-day meals to schoolchildren.
The ministry has ordered specific timings for serving the meals to avoid crowding and said the food should be prepared in a hygienic manner and those cooking it should avoid wearing rings, bangles, or even nail polish.
It has made it the responsibility of the district or the block level administrations to ensure that none of the mid-day meal workers are Covid-19 positive.
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Cooks and helpers involved will have to give self-declarations about the well-being of themselves and their families before starting their work in schools. They will also be thermally scanned before allowed inside schools. Wearing of masks has been made mandatory for them.
“Nail polish or artificial nails should not be worn because they can become foreign bodies and may compromise on food safety. No watches, rings, jewelry, and bangles should be worn during cooking, serving, and distribution as there is a danger of contamination of the product,” says the education ministry protocol.
Spitting and nose blowing would be strictly prohibited. Cooks and helpers would be provided adequate and suitable clean protective aprons and headgears. The protocol has emphasized the use of clean utensils.
They suggest meals should be served in batches to ensure physical distancing.
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