Following the direction of the School Education Department to physically reopen all schools in Maharashtra for Class 9 to Class 12, parents have expressed that their consent is the most important requirement considering the risks pertaining to COVID-19. Principals of various schools have appealed to the state government to reopen physical classes in phases while continuing online education simultaneously for those who do not want to attend school physically.
Following the announcement of School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, the state government released a GR on November 10, directing the physical reopening of all schools for Class 9 to Class 12 from November 23, 2020. In response to this direction, the parents of those studying in both state board and private schools have raised concerns regarding parental consent and precautionary measures and have demanded schools to take full responsibility for the safety of students.
Dhruval Shah, a parent of a student studying in Class 9, said, "I do not want to risk the health of my son by letting him attend school, especially when a second wave of the pandemic has hit some countries. The school should continue online education at least till the end of this year."
Tania Basu, another parent of a student studying in Class 12, said, "I am willing to give my consent to send my daughter to attend school. She needs to attend practical laboratory lectures before the Class 12 board examinations begin. But, the school should take full responsibility to maintain the SOP against COVID-19."
According to the School Education Department, parents who do not wish to send their children to attend class physically or do not give their consent can let their children attend online classes. A senior official of the department said, "Parents of those studying in Class 9 to Class 12 who do not wish to send their children to attend physical classes from November 23 can continue to access online education."
School principals have appealed to the department to reopen physical schools in phases. Prashant Redij, secretary of the Mumbai Principals Association, said, "Instead of laying the entire responsibility on schools, the state should reopen physical schools in phases to avoid risks." While, a principal of a suburban school, said, "We will continue virtual classes for those who do not want to attend physical school."