Before schools in the state reopen after Diwali vacations from November 23 onwards, RT-PCR test to detect Covid-19 will be conducted for all teachers between November 17 and 22, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Saturday.
While detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regarding the reopening of schools are yet to be released by the school education department, Gaikwad stated that only one child will be made to sit on a single bench and classes will be held on alternate days. She further said that students will be asked to come after eating meals at their homes and will be required to bring their own water bottles. School hours will be reduced to four hours, wherein only science, math and english subjects will be taught, she added.
Online learning will continue for the teaching of other subjects, Gaikwad clarified. Schools for other classes will gradually be started in phases. Last week, the department had also released guidelines for teachers for physically attending schools.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday approved the proposal to resume physical schooling for students of classes nine to 12 after Diwali, keeping in mind the necessary safety precautions.
In a virtual meeting hosted with Gaikwad, state Education Minister Bacchu Kadu and Additional Chief Secretary Vandana Krishna, among others, Thackeray said, “Given the present situation, a second wave of coronavirus cannot be ruled out. There is a need to be cautious for some days after Diwali. The schools that had been converted into quarantine centres cannot be re-converted at the moment. Local administration should take a decision whether schools can be started at alternate places in such a situation.”
Thackeray emphasised the need to follow precautions such as the sanitisation of school premises and health checkups of teachers. He stated that those students who are ailing, or have ailing members at home, should not be sent to schools by their parents in this period.
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