Schools in Maharashtra have expressed their disappointment over the standard operating procedures (SOPs) on re-opening of schools that was released by the education department on Tuesday.
Principals said the department has put the entire onus of the safety of students on schools. “We know the safety of students is important. But the way in which SOPs are framed, it seems as if the entire responsibility of ensuring their safety is on schools. While a lot of precautions are suggested for schools, there is no clarity on where the necessary financial assistance will come from ,” said Prashant Redij, spokesperson of the Mumbai Principals’ Association.
Some guidelines issued as per the revised SOPs of the state include mandatory Covid-19 tests for staff, one student per bench in a class and avoiding extracurricular activities like sports, gatherings. Schools have also been asked to ensure physical distancing, routine temperature checks and sanitisation of classrooms.
Some teachers also requested the government to provide free Covid-19 testing for teachers and school staff. “Especially for night school teachers, whose salaries are really low, undergoing a test and spending from their pocket will be tough. We request the government to make testing free for teachers and school staff,” said Niranjan Giri who represents night schools in Shikshak Parishad , a teachers group.
The state education government recently declared that schools in the state will reopen for Classes 9 to 12 from November 23. “We are trying to prepare for the reopening. We just hope that schools , parents and the government works together to ensure the safety of students,” said the principal of a suburban school.
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