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Education

Updated on: Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 04:36 PM IST

FPJ-Ed | COVID-19: Mumbai, Pune, Nashik school reopening postponed amid Omicron threat

Mumbai schools to reopen on December 15.
Representative Image
 | Unsplash

Representative Image | Unsplash

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As the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant looms large, the reopening of schools in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik has been postponed.

Schools in Mumbai for classes 1 to 7 won't reopen on December 1 but from December 15, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Tuesday. This development comes as the BMC is contacting around 1,000 travellers from South Africa who landed in Mumbai.

Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol also said schools for classes 1 to 7 will not reopen in the city from December 1 and a decision in this regard will be announced on December 15 while Nashik municipal commissioner has stayed decision till December 10 amid concerns over the variant.

However, for the rest of Maharashtra schools will reopen from tomorrow, for Class 1 to 4 in the rural areas and 1-7 in the urban areas with full COVID protocols, as announced earlier by School Education Minister Prof. Varsha E. Gaikwad.

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Speaking to reporters, BMC's education officer Raju Tadvi said, "The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has posed a new threat before us. We need some time to ensure safety and implement precautionary measures. Hence, we have decided to reopen the physical attendance in schools from December 15." There are 2,20,000 students studying in Classes 1 to 7 in the BMC schools, he said.

"We need to arrange for masks and sanitise all the schools. We also need to collect consent letters from parents before reopening the schools," the official said.

It is not mandatory for parents to submit the consent letter, the official said, adding if they do not want to send their children to school for the first few days, the students can attend online classes for civic schools.

The state education department has asked all local bodies to seek the consent of parents before reopening schools.

Taking precautions, the BMC is currently tracking all passengers who have arrived in the city from the 12 Omicron-hit nations since November 10 to detect if any of them are infected by the new strain.

"Considering the International connectivity and population of Mumbai, health department, Maharashtra State and MCGM are taking appropriate measures and precautions, Experts across the globe are cautious about new variant and exact nature of it will be known in next few days," a circular issued by the Maharashtra government's education department on Tuesday said.

The state government has also sought information on all passengers landing at the three international airports in the state in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, besides those arriving from other states, by flights originating from the 12 nations.

The BMC has already announced that a 14-day institutional quarantine regime will be compulsory for all such passengers and home isolation will not be permitted under any circumstances.

The state, major cities and district health authorities are gearing up to face the challenge of Omicron by readying hospitals, beds, ICUs, liquid medical oxygen stocks, medicines, doctors, para-medical and non-medical staff, and other health infrastructure to cater to a possible patient rush in the coming weeks, even as COVID -19 vaccination drive has gained momentum.

Maharashtra Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray in a recent meeting with BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation officials raised concerns over the threat posed by the Omicron variant and reiterated that the BMC has been actively contacting and inquiring after passengers who have arrived in the city since November 10.

Meanwhile, Mumbai reported 115 new COVID-19 cases on November 29, Monday, taking the total tally to 7,62,713.

269 COVID-19 patients recovered and were discharged on Monday, taking the recovery count to 7,41,769. Now, there are 2059 active cases in the city.

City recorded 4 deaths due to coronavirus on Monday, which pushed its fatality count to 16,334 as per data released by the city's civic body.

Maharashtra on Monday reported 536 fresh coronavirus positive cases, the lowest in a single day after April 27 last year, and 21 fatalities, a state health department official said.

(With agency inputs)

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Published on: Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 01:13 PM IST
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