Amid apprehensions of a COVID-19 third wave, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that the decision on reopening of schools in Mumbai and MMR region will be taken after Diwali.
"The decision on reopening of schools in Mumbai and surrounding areas will be taken after Diwali," ANI quoted her saying.
Meanwhile, a paediatric task force on Wednesday gave the green signal for reopening schools in a phased manner across Maharashtra; this is in sync with the thinking in the BMC which plans to start schools post-Diwali.
Moreover, taking the proposal forward, the task force has suggested forming a committee at the school level to implement the guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be suggested by them.
Senior doctors from the state health department said the task force members have suggested reopening schools in those districts which have the lowest COVID-19 positivity rate and most of the people are vaccinated. Moreover, they have also suggested the monitoring of Covid cases for the next ten days and deciding whether schools should be reopened or not. “Each district has been given authority to take a call on reopening of schools, depending on the number of cases in their jurisdiction,'' a source said.
The SOPs include staggering of school hours, school days and lunchtime, re-organizing the classrooms to allow spacing among children, re-designing school premises to prevent transmission and setting up of a ‘school health clinic’ that should be run by a trained nurse-aide appointed by the school or a volunteer or a trained teacher or doctor-parent.
Meanwhile, the BMC has said it is doing the groundwork for the return of students. “We will be following the government and task force order and are looking at the possibility of reopening schools post-Diwali break,” said an official.
(With inputs from Swapnil Mishra)