- Schools must ensure students’ safety: Gaurav Jain, Senior VP, RB
- Return-to-school kit provides various safety tools for students
- Students will be encouraged to clean hands regularly: RB
New Delhi: As the country continues the process of opening from the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the state governments are contemplating opening of schools. In this regard, the Union Ministry of Education has recently released a set of guidelines permitting the states to open schools in a graded manner after October 15. The ministry’s guidelines for reopening of schools focus on two parts one is standard operating procedures (SOPs) for health, hygiene, and safety and another is learning with physical and social distancing. Keeping this in consideration and in order to help schools prepare for the reopening and minimising risks for students to contract the coronavirus infection at school, the Reckitt Benckiser Group has launched a ‘Return-to-school’ kit.
While speaking at the 12-hour #SwsthyaMantra telethon by NDTV and Dettol’s Banega Swasth India campaign on October 2, Gaurav Jain, Senior VP, South Asia (Health), RB said that as schools reopen, it is important to gain the trust of children and their parents that they will be safe in school. For ensuring safety to the students, RB has launched a kit that not only has literature and guideline on prepping schools for reopening but also contains masks, sanitisers and other tools required to help children learn without the fear of COVID-19, he said.
Sharing about the origin of the idea for launching the ‘Return-to-school’ kit, Mr. Jain said,
My daughter is associated with a school for underprivileged children and that school has been closed for the last six months. I asked her two months back when te lockdown started to open about the kids and how they are learning. She said that they can’t because those kids do not have any computers or smartphones to help them continue their education. It was heart-wrenching. She started collecting money to smartphones for the school and she could collect enough to by 8. That made me think that we cannot go to the millions of schools and donate phones because we don’t have that kind of resources. But what we need is to get the confidence of parents and of the students to have a safe environment to go back because the last thing we need is for children to get sick on returning to school.
He further said that the organisation decided to use its expertise in sanitation, hygiene and safety and its tie-ups various governments to come up with a kit which guides the management of the schools and the students to do the right thing when they come back.
The return-to-school kit has a pulse oximeter, a thermal scanner, masks, gloves, sanitiser, Dettol soap, Dettol handwash, Dettol antiseptic liquid. Explaining further about the kit, Mr. Jain said,
Apart from the products, it has technical guidelines on what the school management should do before the school opens and during the school hours. Apart from this, it has a host of resources for schools to put at various spots around the campus to raise awareness about wearing masks, following physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and about COVID-19. There is also a learning material for teachers to teach students during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Mr. Jain highlighted that keeping the children who do not have access to phones and laptops will increase the learning gap between the underprivileged and the privileged which will do more harm. While signing off, Mr. Jain said,
Pupils from the underprivileged sections have been out of schools for over six months and do not have any way of learning and they might remain out of school for more months to come if they are not provided with a safe environment. I don’t think that’s acceptable. I think, whatever we can do from Dettol we must do, because we are also associated with schools. We are trying to build an environment as safe as possible for the children in schools. The return-to-school kits will not only bring kids back school but will also stop the disease from spreading.
About Banega Swasth India Campaign
For six years, NDTV and Dettol India have been talking about and promoting the need for a clean and healthy India through Banega Swachh-Swasth India campaign. In 2019, the campaign moved the conversation from Swachh to Swasth (Health) because only a clean India can become a healthy India. Helmed by NDTV’s Dr Prannoy Roy and campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign over the years has talked about various issues such as making India open defecation free, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) programmes, waste management, recycling, menstrual hygiene, the plight of manual scavengers, the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition to name a few.
In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this year, it has become imperative to revisit the core values of the campaign and restart the conversations on hygienic practices, especially hand washing and cleanliness.
In the seventh year, Banega Swasth India campaign will focus on three pillars to make the world safe and healthy – Health, Hygiene and Sanitation, and Environment.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.