Maharashtra: A Four-member committee will be set up by Municipal Commissioners in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban and Thane will take decisions on reopening schools in their respective jurisdiction.
The Maharashtra government has come out with a detailed SOP for schools on Tuesday. The schools in the state will reopen from August 17 after remaining shut from March 2020, since COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Students have been studying via online classes since then. Now, with the schools reopening soon, offline classes will commence in rural areas for class 5-8 students, and in the cities for class 8-12 students keeping covid protocol in mind, Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had announced last week.
A Four-member committee will be set up by Municipal Commissioners in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban and Thane will take decisions on reopening schools in their respective jurisdiction. Similar committees will be set up in districts headed by respective collectors to take decisions keeping in mind covid situation in the area. The schools will be started only in those places (villages, cities) where the number of covid cases have declined significantly over the past month, as per the SOPs.
School management has been asked to commence a campaign, “Back to School”, to let students know that schools will be reopening soon. The SOP has also mandated that physical attendance shouldn’t be made compulsory for students. Teachers need to take consent of parents before asking their wards to physically attend classes. The schools have to be equipped with digital thermometers, sanitisers among other protective devices . If quarantine centres have been set up in schools, they need to be shut down before the school reopens, the district administration has been directed. School teachers and staff will have to undergo RT PCR test 48 hours before the reopening of the school.
As for sitting arrangements, only one student will be allowed to sit on a bench that too with a six feet distance between the two benches. Also, the class will be conducted in two sessions for schools with a high number of students to avoid any risk of contraction. SOP also stated that the school timings should only be of three to four hours and not longer than that. There should not be more than 15 to 20 students in each class at a given time.
Local authorities need to ensure all teachers are vaccinated fully as it will be mandatory for all the school teachers to get vaccinated. They have also been asked to refrain from using public transport while travelling to school. The SOP also statesdd that parents/ guardians of students wouldn’t be allowed to enter school premises to stop crowding. The state presently has a total number of 19,997 secondary and higher secondary schools, in which over 45 lakh students study in Classes 8 to 12.