Schools in Maharashtra, including Mumbai, are reopening today, January 24, for offline classes for the students of pre-primary and classes 1-12. The announcement was made last week by Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad and she said that parents’ consent will be important for attendance. The minister also said that local authorities have been empowered to assess the Covid situation and take the decision regarding safe reopening of schools.
However, schools will remain closed in Pune and Aurangabad. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said no decision has been taken regarding resumption of physical classes at schools in Pune district as COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
Ms Gaikwad, announcing the decision of reopening schools said parents and teachers of the state wanted resumption of physical classes. “During our continued dialogue with parents & teachers we received consistent feedback about restarting physical classes along with online education for better learning outcomes. During my recent interaction with Collectors/CEOs, a similar view was expressed,” the minister said last week.
A recent survey of cities across Maharashtra suggests otherwise. According to the survey conducted by the online community platform LocalCircle across tier 1, 2-3 and 4 cities of the state that received 4,976 responses, 62 per cent of the total surveyed parents are not willing to send their children to schools from Monday.
To ensure health and safety of students, schools will ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and SOPs. Students and teachers will wear masks at all times and only one student will sit on a bench. Vaccination drives for older students to be ramped up.