Varsha Gaikwad
Varsha Gaikwad

Mumbai: With Covid-19 positive cases showing no signs of slowing down in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to allow schools to reopen only after Diwali. This means children in over 1.2 lakh schools won’t be able to attend classes in person till November. Minister of School Education Varsha Gaikwad said the decision was taken after a meeting between her department and several school managements. Since schools are not ready to risk the lives of their students, the state has planned to push the reopening after Diwali, she said.

Gaikwad said the Centre had sought the state government’s views about the resuming classes in schools for senior students. She said the Centre had also issued standard operating procedures or SOPs for the partial resumption of teaching activities in schools for students of Classes 9 to 12, on a voluntary basis, from September 21.

“However, school managements put up an argument that it should not be done when there has been a spurt in Covid-19 cases in the state. Therefore, schools for Classes 9 to 12 will also not be reopened from September 21. They too will start after Diwali," she said. Parents in rural areas, which have seen a surge in the viral infection, are reluctant to send their children to schools. Apart from regular schools, the minister said, residential schools will also remain closed till November.

"The school management authorities have urged the state government to provide grants for the purchase of sanitisers and equipment for sanitisation and cleanliness," she said. Meanwhile, unaided schools have urged the government to issue a notification on payment of fees, particularly after the recent order of the Bombay High Court, said the minister.

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