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Updated on: Monday, June 15, 2020, 07:35 AM IST

Coronavirus in Maharashtra: June 15 is here, but schools have no clarity on how to start academic year online

"Physical schools continue to remain shut, teachers and staff can work from home," says state School Education Minister
Navi Mumbai: Education officer issues notice to private schools in Panvel asking for fees during lockdown | Photo by Pixabay

Navi Mumbai: Education officer issues notice to private schools in Panvel asking for fees during lockdown | Photo by Pixabay

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Even as the calendar turns to June 15, schools do not have any clarity on the standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding the duration to conduct online classes, as the Chief Minister (CM) has not given an official nod. While some schools are prepared to begin the academic year online, others are not sure on how they should conduct virtual classes and have decided not to start until the state issues final instructions.

On June 13, the Education Department suggested a SOP with several guidelines for schools to run online classes. According to it, there will be no online classes for students from pre-primary to Standard 2. Classes will be held for an hour daily for students from Standard 3 to Standard 5, two hours from Standard 6 to Standard 8, and three hours for Standard 9 to Standard 12. Also, there should be breaks at regular intervals so that children do not spend continuous time in front of the screen.

But the CM has not approved the guidelines of this SOP as of June 14. A senior officer of the Education Department told The Free Press Journal, "We are waiting for a green signal from the CM. Schools can implement these guidelines only after we receive an official go-ahead from him. We hope the decision will be taken in the next few days."

Some school authorities revealed they will start their academic year online according to their regular time table. Vaishnavi Dev, a teacher said, "We have been instructed to bifurcate hours for every class and follow our regular time table daily . We have breaks in between classes just as regular schooling. We do not want students to waste their time without having access to school teaching and learning."

On the other hand, some schools have decided to wait for the official guidelines from the state. Mastan Nasir, a teacher said, "We have deferred starting online classes for now. We want to wait for final guidelines from the state government. It is better to conduct online classes following a government approved SOP."

The academic cycle begins on June 15 every year. However, due to the lockdown amidst the coronavirus pandemic, schools have shifted to online education. Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister, released a statement, "Physical schools will continue to remain shut on account of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Teachers and school staff will work from home."

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Published on: Monday, June 15, 2020, 06:00 AM IST
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