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Maharashtra: Schools might be shut again, says minister; parents threaten protest

🔴 Parents, however, questioned the rationale behind allowing children to enter malls, attend parties and travel, but not attend schools.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
December 23, 2021 1:49:00 am
Mumbai schools, Maharashtra schools, Maharashtra government, schools reopening, covid schools, omicron covid, mumbai covid, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsMaharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad (File)

STATE EDUCATION Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Wednesday said that schools might be shut again if Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant increased in the state. The statement was opposed by a parents’ association, which threatened protests if schools were shut again.

Maintaining that the state government is monitoring the situation, Gaikwad said, “If Omicron cases continue to rise, we may take a call to shut down the schools again.”

Schools were closed in March 2020 in Mumbai following the outbreak of the pandemic. While it was decided that schools would reopen in the city from December 1, it was postponed to December 15 due to the detection of the Omicron variant.

Parents, however, questioned the rationale behind allowing children to enter malls, attend parties and travel, but not attend schools. In a petition  — signed by over 5,000 parents in Mumbai — sent to the state government, the association has demanded that children of all classes be allowed to go back to school for physical classes.

Gayatri Sabharwal, the mother of two pre-primary and primary school-going children and a member of the Parents Association of Mumbai, said, “Parents of Mumbai will not accept the closing of schools. In other cities, schools have reopened and are running, why is Mumbai different? Parents should decide if they want to send their children to schools or not. Parents will take to the streets and there will be mayhem if schools are closed.”

The association, under the banner ‘Open Schools Now’, has been pushing the state to open private schools as well in Mumbai.

Private schools in the city would reopen for classes I to VII after winter vacation, or in January, depending on the number of Omicron cases then. Till date, 65 Omicron cases have been reported in Maharashtra.

“The health and safety of students have always been our prime concern. We opened schools for classes VIII-IX following all Covid-19 protocols and are well equipped to open school for other grades too. But with the rise in Omicron cases, the school management is in a dilemma again,” said Kavita Chatterjee, Principal of Orchids International School in Kurla.

Among the 6,53,239 students in BMC-run schools for classes I to VII, 27 per cent (1,80,640) attended classes on the first day of reopening of schools.

As per Covid-19 protocol, all teaching and non-teaching staffers need to be vaccinated with both doses.

Also, while parents have to give consent to their children to attend classes, safety and hygiene have to be maintained.

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