Teaching and non-teaching staff to shoulder responsibility as schools reopen offline in Maharashtra

Teaching and non-teaching staff of schools will have to be careful and ensure safety of students as priority, said the state School Education Department after the announcement to reopen schools offline for Standard 5 to Standard 8 from January 27 in Maharashtra was made on Friday.

COVID-19 safety protocols will have to be strictly maintained, as students are within the age of 10 years to 14 years in these standards. Following the suit of reopening schools offline in phases, Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister, on Friday, announced that schools for Standard 5 to Standard 8 will reopen offline from January 27 onwards. Students will be allowed to attend offline classes with parental consent. RT-PCR testing of all teachers will be done over the course of the next few days.

A senior officer of the state School Education Department said, "Reopening offline classes for Standard 5 to Standard 8 will have to be done with utmost safety. Students of these standards are between the age of 10 years to 14 years. Teachers will have to explain physical distancing norms to students repeatedly. Also, teachers will have to ensure that students use hand sanitisers, keep their work area clean and maintain cleanliness."

Non-teaching staff will play a major role in keeping a check on students, said the principal of a Vashi school. The principal said, "Non-teaching staff, such as security guards, peons and helpers, will have to ensure students wear masks all the time during school hours. Also, they will have to constantly keep an eye on students whether they maintain distancing during breaks, entry and exit."

Schools need to be extra careful as students will attend offline classes only after parental consent, said Gaikwad. Gaikwad said, "Schools should maintain all COVID-19-related standard operating procedures (SOPs)."

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