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Mumbai: Confusion reigns in schools,: Teachers and parents of students in Classes 9 to 12 are nonplussed, as despite opposition, the state school education department has decided to reopen physical schools for these grades from Monday in Maharashtra, except for those in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Aurangabad districts.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had said last week that across the board, all schools in Mumbai would remain closed till December 31, 2020, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following a thorough discussion with local authorities, municipal corporations, zilla parishads (ZPs), district education officers and health departments, the state school education department has decided to reopen physical schools for Classes 9 to 12 from November 23. State School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad tweeted, "The government has decided to start classes IX to XII in educational institutions in Maharashtra. The local administration should take proper precautions while starting the school."

Authorities of the BMC education department had told The Free Press Journal that all schools of Mumbai would remain closed till December 31, 2020. BMC Education Officer Mahesh Palkar said, "The BMC has decided that all schools, including state-run, private, international, aided and unaided schools of Mumbai would remain closed till December 31, 2020, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools that were supposed to reopen physical classes for Standards 9 to 12 from November 23 as per the state direction will not do so but continue regular online education."

Officials of the state school education department revealed that schools in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Aurangabad cities would not reopen physical classes, following the decision of local authorities. A senior official of the department said, "We conducted a meeting with all local authorities and district education officers to review the decision of reopening physical schools for Class 9 to 12. Schools in Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Aurangabad will not reopen physically, following the decision of local authorities based on the ground situation."

The official added, "Schools in other cities and districts of Maharashtra, apart from Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Aurangabad, will reopen physical classes for Standard 9 to 12 from Monday. All schools will continue online education simultaneously. The department has taken the decision to reopen physical schools to provide academic learning to students who do not have access to online education."

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