The Maharashtra education department plans to reopen schools for Classes 9 to 12 on November 23, education minister Varsha Gaikwad announced on Friday.
“We have proposed a phased reopening of schools post Diwali break as the government is trying to unlock various sectors in the state. The idea is to start with higher classes first, and for this we have drafted detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The draft SOPs are submitted for the Chief Minister’s approval,” said Gaikwad in a statement.
Parents said that many will still be skeptical to send their children to schools. “Parents are worried about sending their children until there is a vaccine or the Covid-19 cases go down substantially. They will not want to take any risks when it comes to the health of the children. The government should explore flexible options of online and offline learning,” said Anu Sinha, a parent from Thane.
Gaikwad said care will be taken to ensure that all safety protocols as suggested by the central and the state government shall be followed while reopening schools. “The government will ensure that appropriate measures are in place for the safety of students and teachers in schools,” Gaikwad added. On Friday, HT had reported the government’s plans of conducting Class 10 and 12 board exams in the month of May.
In June, the education department submitted SOPs on online learning which also consisted of plans on physical reopening of schools. However, with the centre’s decision of not starting schools until October, schools in the state could not reopen. Now with Diwali break approaching, the government plans to reopen schools only by the end of November.
As per previous SOPs, school management committees were asked to consider options like shift-wise running of schools, staggering school timings, changing seating arrangement in classrooms, disinfecting schools, not allowing crowding in buses, etc. Similarly, local administrations were asked to ensure sanitization of schools and screening of teachers and students.
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