Schools in Pune city to restart from Nov 23

Pune: After the Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced to restart schools from November 23, Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar on Thursday and Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh on Friday issued orders to resume physical classes at schools within Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits.

All the PMC-run, government and private schools are allowed to resume the academic session, offline, for Classes 9 to 12 from Monday, November 23. The schools have been instructed to strictly follow Covid safety protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the state government.

The order issued by Kumar states: “All the schools in PMC limits with standard 9 to 12 are allowed to restart their classes for standard 9 to 12 from November 23. Also, hostels and residential schools for same standards, especially for foreign students, are also allowed to restart from the given date”.

The order issued by Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh on Friday also stated the same information. According to the guidelines issued by the authorities, it is compulsory for each student coming to school to get a written permission from the parent.

According to a circular issued by PMC additional commissioner Rubal Agrawal on Friday, PMC officials will be visiting the schools under its jurisdiction and check the safety measures as per the SOPs given by the education department. Schools will be allowed to resume classes only after getting permission from these officials.

Meanwhile, parents of students are anxious about the Covid infection risk.

“I am worried to send my daughter to school from November 23 as there is always a risk of getting infected. My husband is willing to send the child as he says that all safety measures will be followed by the school,” said Archana Kakade, a parent.

“Medical experts say that despite the coronavirus spread, a large number of people do not show symptoms. In such a situation, how to constantly check the children or teachers? The big question can arise if a teacher is tested positive. If 50 per cent of children are present, how will parents plan transportation and creche for them? How can we ensure that children keep a safe distance during the 50 per cent attendance? Does the consent of parents end the responsibility of schools? The government has not given satisfactory answers to all these issues,” said Mukund Kirdat, coordinator, Pune Parents United.

“The government should first implement a home-based nutritious diet for poor-weaker section children. Another issue is the need to strengthen online facilities. A temporary competent direct education system should be set up using unemployed diploma in education (DEd) and teacher eligibility test (TET) teachers. Also, the upper fee cap should be announced for online education immediately. An ordinance should be issued amending the Fee Regulation Act with reference to court orders from other states regarding school fee concessions. Otherwise, the minister will be responsible for the academic loss of children,” he said.

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