Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday approved reopening of schools from October 4 for Class 5 to 12 in rural areas and for Class 8 to 12 in urban areas.
School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, however, said these schools will be reopened by strictly adhering to COVID 19 norms and SOPs prepared by the School Education Department in consultation with the Pediatric Task Force. She however clarified that sports will not be allowed and the residential schools will remain shut as today’s decision is restricted to regular schools across Maharashtra.
She said that the schools will be reopened by taking all the necessary due care adding that the local administration has been involved and delegated powers in this regard.
Gaikwad said the attendance will not be compulsory but the parents’ nod will be required for sending the child to the school. Depending on the number of students, there could be alternate day classes. In addition, the schools will have to put in place an isolation center if a student is detected positive. Apart from sanitization, adequate social distancing will be mandatory. For teaching and non teaching staff, full COVID-19 vaccination is a must as laid down in the SOPs.
Gaikwad said the Pediatric Task Force has suggested that measures need to be taken for the mental health of students. She further stated that parents will have to take care of students after they return to homes as they need to immediately change their clothes and take baths.
The minister said the local doctors and if a member of a parent is a medical practitioner they will be roped in for students’ care.
Gaikwad said the state government will take a decision allowing students and teachers to travel in Mumbai suburban trains. She announced that a special campaign will be launched to bring back the students to the schools who had left especially during the present coronavirus pandemic.