Maharashtra School Reopening from Monday; Minister issues Covid-19 guidelines, students oppose

Maharashtra School News Today: Schools to ensure isolation facilities in case any student shows symptoms and follow Covid-19 SOPs strictly.

Maharashtra School Reopening from Monday; Minister issues Covid-19 guidelines, students oppose School reopen in Maharashtra from January 24
Anu Parthiban | Jan 21, 2022 - 12:36 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Maharashtra state education minister Varsha Gaikwad announced that all schools for Classes 1 to 12 can be reopened for offline classes from Monday (January 24). A number of parents, activists as well as teachers had strongly opposed the move to shut the schools, saying it would adversely affect the students. While another section of parents was apprehensive about the rise in Covid-19 and Omicron cases.

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Though the state education minister assured safe resumption of schools in the state, several students have opposed the decision to reopen schools in Maharashtra due to Covid-19, Omicron fear.

“The decision has been taken following detailed deliberations with the Maharashtra chief minister, cabinet colleagues, the paediatric task force and education experts. In these areas, the local administration is empowered to assess and take decisions regarding safe resumption of schools,” she said.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday approved a proposal to resume offline classes sent to him by the school education department.

Maharashtra School News: Covid-19 guidelines

"Our SOPs are very strict and clear. We have given four days advance notice to the management of schools to undertake vaccination and sanitisation and for preparation of time-table. The timing and other necessary decisions will be taken by the local authorities, such as district collector or municipal commissioner based on the local situations," Varsha Gaikwad said.

“Health, safety and continuous education of our students is of primary concern for us,” she said. Asking schools to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 SOPs, the minister said masks should be worn at all times, not more than one student to be seated per bench and vaccination drives for older students should be ramped up.

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Varsha Gaikwad said it is mandatory to have the consent of parents for attendance. She further requested parents to not send students to school if they are unwell. Moreover, schools were asked to ensure isolation facilities in case any student shows symptoms.

She reiterated that “improving learning outcomes in children through continued education in a safe environment is our goal”.

Students oppose Maharashtra school reopening decision

Students have started opposing the state government’s decision to reopen schools in Maharashtra. Amid a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, including the Omicron variant, the civic body has earlier decided to shut schools of all mediums for Classes 1 to 9 and also 11 till January 31.

Reacting to Varsha Gaikwad’s tweet, a student said, “See the replies madam!! which sector is demanding reopening of schools? institute owners? Why are you putting lives of children at risk? Is 40,000 cases a small number? Or we will learn when some children die, is that what government is waiting for to happen? Bad decision…”

“Maharashtra has the smartest education minister and don't have information about basic things. Maharashtra reported 32000 cases of Covid under age 20. And these people come and say covid don't affect children,” another Twitter user said.

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Saying that students under 15-years-old are not vaccinated, a student said, “Madam. Please reconsider. Students below 15 years are not vaccinated and will be exposed to the virus. Covid protocols are not really followed in schools. Masks Usage is not consistent. The School's refuse to take any responsibility. Why not start schools after peak is over?”

“No one is demanding for reopening of school, each household is having at least one of its member ill. Reopening schools will make students a carrier of infection and ongoing flu, rethink on the descision and don't reopen schools at least till 10th of Feb!,” another student said.

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