50% attendance of teaching staff 
must in all schools, says School Education Department

The state’s School Education Department, on Thursday, released a government resolution (GR) directing 50 per cent attendance for teaching and non-teaching staff in all the schools of Maharashtra. The attendance has been initiated so that the teaching and non-teaching staff can complete online and offline education or tele counselling-related work.

According to the GR dated October 29, 2020, state-run, private aided, unaided and all the schools of Maharashtra should have 50 per cent attendance of teaching and non-teaching staff for the completion of online and offline education, distance teaching-learning and tele counselling-related work. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) pertaining to COVID-19 should be maintained.

Opposing this direction, school teachers have questioned the need to physically attend school, when classes are being conducted virtually. Urvashi Seth, a teacher said, "Why does the state Education Department want us to be physically present in schools when there are no students in the classes and we are conducting daily lectures online from our homes? Also, how should we commute to the school? Is it safe to commute by suburban trains amidst the risk of the spread of COVID-19?"

Santosh More, another teacher, said, "Some schools are giving an option for teachers to conduct online classes from the school using the available computer, internet connection and space if required. But, why is the state forcing us to attend school when there is no clarity on when and how schools reopen physically?"

Prashant Redij, secretary of the Mumbai Principals Association, said, "There is no clarity on how and why should the teaching and non-teaching staff attend school when the entire education system has shifted to an online mode. Also, what about those residing in containment zones? Teaching and non-teaching staff should be allowed to work remotely from home till the state School Education Department provides clarity."

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Free Press Journal