In view of the rising COVID- 19 cases in Maharashtra's Aurangabad, the students of classes 5 to 9 and class 11 in schools of the district have been given the option of attending the classes online, officials said on Thursday.
The announcement was made during a press conference held by acting district collector Anant Gavhane, Municipal Commissioner Astik Kumar Pandey, Police Commissioner Nikhil Gupta and Superintendent of Police Mokshada Patil.
"In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have decided to make optional the physical presence of students for classes 5 to 11 in schools," Pandey said.
"This option will be open till February 28. The situation will be monitored again and a decision will be taken about the resumption of physical attendance," he added.
The classes for SSC (class 10) and HSC (class 12) will continue the way they are currently being held, he said.
Gavhane said that the administration has appealed to 190 functions/event halls in the district to follow all the safety regulations in view of the pandemic.
"These function halls have been asked to follow guidelines, failing which their property will be sealed. Fifty flying squads have been created comprising personnel of the rural development, police and revenue departments," he said.
"We have reached a peak of nearly 6,500 active patients. The district currently has 11,763 beds, 2,124 oxygen beds, 300 ventilators and 532 ICU beds. The facilities which were closed due to the decrease graph of coronavirus patients will be opened if needed. There are nearly 115 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals, Covid care centres and health clinics here," he said.
The action would be taken against people not wearing masks, he said.
The district has so far witnessed 1,247 deaths due to the infection, while the death rate is 2.60 per cent. Contact tracing is 11.43 and 8.93 is the positivity rate in the district, Gavhane added.
Commissioner of Police Nikhil Gupta warned that if the situation worsens, the administration might rethink imposing curfew.
"Doctors are warning about the second wave of the pandemic and people should follow the guidelines. If the situation worsens, the administration can think of night as well as day curfew," he said.
The number of cases in Aurangabad district has gone up to 47,979 with 137 fresh cases. A total of 46,235 people have been discharged and there are 498 active patients in the district, another official said.