Mumbai: Colleges, schools in a fix as govt yet to decide on resuming offline classes

Both state and private board schools in Mumbai are caught up in a dilemma as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday did not announce any decision on reopening of offline lectures for Classes 10 and 12. Also, degree colleges and universities waiting for a final nod as the decision regarding reopening of offline lectures was supposed to be taken after February 22 are in a fix after the Chief Minister hinted at the possibility of another lockdown.

Schools have been waiting for a decision regarding reopening considering board theory and practical exams are approaching but the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not provided any clarity. Teachers of state board schools said they were hoping the CM would permit schools in Mumbai to reopen offline at least for Classes 10 and 12.

Parineeti Chaudhuri, a teacher of a Mahim school said, "We have students from weak financial backgrounds who are preparing for Class 10 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) board exams. They need practical exposure, physical presence of teachers and individual attention to understand certain concepts. We were really expecting a decision regarding reopening of offline lectures for Mumbai schools for Standards 10 and 12 but, it seems like we will have to wait for another few days."

Siddharth Jain, a teacher of a CBSE board school, said, "Instead of waiting for a direction on offline reopening, we have started conducting revision and doubt solving lectures online for students appearing for Classes 10 and 12 board exams."

While, degree colleges and universities said they will start initiating precautionary measures, sanitisation and COVID-19 safety protocols on campus after receiving a final direction from the BMC. The principal of a South Mumbai college, said, "We do not want to waste funds on sanitising classrooms and campuses unnecessarily if the BMC is going to continue to keep offline lectures shut."

The principal added, "Last time, we spent part of our budget on sanitising classrooms, cleaning washrooms and disinfecting campuses expecting that offline lectures will reopen from February 15. Now, we want to wait for a final direction from the BMC and only then, we will initiate sanitisation measures."

Bernadette Nazareth, a professor said, "Students are constantly asking us about dates for reopening of offline lectures. Some students are scared to commute to campus amidst the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city while, others are keen on attending offline lectures despite risks."

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Free Press Journal