Mumbai: A day after the taskforce advised the reopening of schools after Diwali in the wake of the spread of the Delta-plus variant and the possibility of a third wave, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday issued an 11-page government resolution on guidelines for reopening of schools from August 17. In municipal corporation limits, a commissioner-led committee and in nagar panchayats, municipalities and gram panchayat areas, a district collector-led committee will study various factors before starting physical classes.
As far as schools in Mumbai are concerned, the BrihanMumbai municipal commissioner will take into account the Covid-19 infections during a month. In Mumbai, the daily caseload continues to fluctuate between 250 and 350. In the first week of August, the city’s tally stood at 2,203, which is half of the 4,086 cases detected in the first week of July. The number of deaths were 53 against 122 reported in the first week of July.
These committees will check that at least a month before the reopening of the schools the respective city or village has reported a reduction in Covid infections. It is mandatory for teachers to be vaccinated and district collectors are required to plan for this. Parents’ entry to school premises will be strictly banned.
Schools will have to strictly follow the Covid protocols and will have to function in two sessions. The minimum distance between two benches will be six feet and there will be one student to a bench. Further, there will only be 15 to 20 students in each class and teaching, non-teaching staff and students will all have to wear masks and regularly wash hands with soap. If any student is detected with symptoms, he or she should be immediately sent home and they will have to undergo testing.
If a student tests positive, the school should be closed immediately and it should be disinfected. The students should be quarantined and put under medical observation.
Students should be called to school in phases and the classes can be conducted on alternate days or in morning and afternoon sessions. Teachers should prioritise teaching core subjects.
The government has said teachers should make arrangements to stay in the same city or village where they teach and they should not commute by public transport.
The guidelines issued on Tuesday come in the wake of School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad’s announcement on August 6 about reopening schools for Classes 5-8 in rural areas and Classes 8-12 in urban areas from August 17, where the Covid positivity rate is low.
The government resolution signed by the school education department’s joint secretary, Rajendra Pawar, has referred to the survey conducted from July 9 to July 12 for the commencement of schools. According to the survey, 81.18 per cent of parents showed readiness to send their children to schools if the school management would take the necessary measures to combat the pandemic.
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