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Schools reopen across Maharashtra: ‘Easing students into classes is the priority’

Apart from Covid-related guidelines to ensure there is no spread of infection on school premises, schools are taking extra steps to ensure the mental wellbeing of their wards.

At Mauli Mandal School in Thane on Wednesday. (Deepak Joshi)

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, children across the state returned to schools on Wednesday with great excitement and a bit of trepidation. Schools say their priority is to help children ease into the traditional school process after two years of on and off schooling during the pandemic.

Apart from Covid-related guidelines to ensure there is no spread of infection on school premises, schools are taking extra steps to ensure the mental wellbeing of their wards.

“It is important to focus on the socioemotional development of children. Teachers have been instructed to focus on the child and not the curriculum in the initial days,” said Swati Popat Vats, director of Podar Institutes of Education who is also president of the Early Childhood Association.

Children who are not speaking much in class or are having trouble mingling with classmates will be identified at all Podar schools to help them ease into new social settings.

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Prajodh Rajan, co-founder and CEO, Lighthouse Learning, which runs schools across India, said, “We have strengthened our Centre of Well Being – a team of counsellors who are trained to help students make a smooth transition from online to offline school. We have also trained our teachers, caregivers, housekeeping staff, security sta? and attendants prior to the opening of the schools about the safety procedures.”

After reopening on Monday, schools across Maharashtra welcomed students in the classes on Wednesday. The first day back in school was celebrated as a festival at most schools as instructed by the state school education department. In Mumbai, teachers in several schools greeted parents at the gates as they came to drop their wards. While in some schools, flowers were given to children, in others, activities were held to celebrate the return to school. There is no face mask mandate yet. However, many children and teachers were seen wearing face-masks on the day.

“Even though schools opened earlier, there were several restrictions and many children whose parents had migrated were still not in the city. Now, all are back in school,” said Jitendra Mahajan, a teacher and house master at Hansraj Morarji Public School in Andheri.

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First published on: 16-06-2022 at 01:45:09 am
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