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Classes 9 to 12 of schools in Maharashtra will reopen from November 23, school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Saturday.

Gaikwad made the announcement at a video conference held by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Classes 9 to 12 should reopen after Diwali with all COVID-19 safety protocols in place, he said.

A second wave of COVID-19 pandemic was possible looking at the situation elsewhere in the world, so the administration must be cautious, the chief minister warned.

"We need to be extra cautious after Diwali. Quarantine centers in schools cannot be shut. The local administration can take decision regarding alternative places for classrooms.

Sanitization of schools, coronavirus tests for teachers and other precautions are a must," the CM said.

Students who are sick or those who have a sick family member at home must not be sent to schools, Thackeray added.

Gaikwad said all teachers will undergo RT-PCR coronavirus tests between November 17 and 22. "Schools will reopen on November 23, and students will undergo thermal checking at entry," she said.

Only one student will be seated per bench, the minister said.

Further, classes will be held on alternate days and science, maths and English will be taught while other subjects will be taught online, Gaikwad said.

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