The physical classes for pre-primary and for classes 1 to 12 will reopen from January 24 as the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has cleared the proposal sent by the School Education Department, announced the minister Varsha Gaikwad here on Thursday.
"Schools in areas where coronavirus cases are fewer can restart physical classes for standard 1st-12th and also pre-primary from January 24 onwards. We are committed to the safe resumption of schools in the state. The decision has been taken following detailed deliberations with CM, cabinet colleagues and the Pediatric Task Force and education experts. In these areas, the local administration is empowered to assess and take decisions regarding school reopening,’’ she said.
The minister further noted, "During our continued dialogue with parents and teachers we received consistent feedback about restarting physical classes along with online education for better learning outcomes. The health, safety and continuous education of our students are of primary concern for us. Schools will ensure strict adherence to SOPs. Masks to be worn at all times. No more than one student is to be seated per bench. Vaccination drives for older students to be ramped up.’’
Gaikwad said the consent of parents is important for attendance. Parents are also requested to not send students to school if they are unwell. Schools will ensure isolation facilities in case any student shows symptoms.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our schools and especially our teachers for continuously ensuring a safe environment for our students. This is the fourth phase of school re-opening; we must continue to observe all COVID 19 protocols. I reiterate, improving learning outcomes in children through continued education in a safe environment is our goal,’’ said Gaikwad.
The Pediatric Task Force Member Dr Samir Dalwai said the opening of schools should not only be connected to the number of covid cases as most of these are mild. "Variants will keep coming. School opening cannot be dependent on that. More children have died of TB or road accidents than covid. Parents get together and send your kids to school.’’
On the other hand, the Task Force on COVID 19 member Dr Shashank Joshi on the announcements by Gaikwad also by the higher and technical education minister Uday Samat on reopening of schools and colleges said, "safe schooling from KG to PG soon.’’