With Covid cases are once again on the rise, Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad made a major announcement on Sunday - schools would reopen for the new academic year with all precautions in place, adding that the government would shortly be issuing a detailed SOP, bearing in mind students’ safety. In parts of Maharashtra, schools have already begun while others are scheduled to reopen on June 9, 13 and 15.
“Though Covid cases are increasing, schools will be opened with due care. The government will soon decide whether to make the use of masks mandatory in schools and also issue standard operating procedures (SOP) while schools are in operation,” said Gaikwad.
On Sunday, Maharashtra reported 1,494 new cases, with the number of active patients surging to 6,767. Gaikwad’s statement is important in the light of Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asking the state government to step up the implementation of testing, tracking, treating and vaccination. State Public Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas has asked the civic and district administration to increase the pace of vaccination, as this can significantly reduce hospitalisation and potential deaths. Further, Vyas has said that masking in closed public spaces like trains, buses, cinemas, auditoriums, offices, hospitals, colleges and schools is a must.
Mumbai Suburban District Guardian Minister Aaditya Thackeray has also expressed concern over the rising number of Covid cases but has assured there is no cause for worry. He too has appealed to the citizens to use masks in public places to protect themselves from infection.
“As Covid cases are increasing, we could be in the fourth wave of the pandemic. However, there is no need to panic. It’s time to use masks again, to avoid virus infection,” said Aaditya.