Updated: October 6, 2021 10:51:39 am
After more than 18 months, Paveri Kamble, 15, went to school on Monday. She was restless, excited and relieved at not having to juggle the lone smartphone in the house to attend online classes, she said.
Students were welcomed back on school campuses across Mumbai with flowers, balloons, sanitisers and social distancing protocols.
Kamble was one of the roughly 30,250 students in BMC-run schools who resumed physical classes. The total number of students who attended classes in private schools was not available.
Schools reopened for classes VIII to XII in urban areas and from class V onwards in rural areas in the state after over a year-long break owing to the Covid 19 pandemic. Parents said they were cautious while sending their children to school. The BMC had in its SOP stated that parents’ consent is necessary for students to attend school.
As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), there are 67,361 students in Classes VIII-X in 781 civic-run schools. The BMC said that parents of around 60 per cent of these students gave consent for sending their child to school. Authorities said that on Monday, around 30,250 students attended in-person classes. Of the total, 26 schools did not operate on Monday as the quarantine and vaccination centres were not shifted in time.
Some parents, also joyful, were lined up outside the gates as they dropped their kids at school. Kamble’s mother said, “It was difficult for my daughter to understand instructions through the mobile phone. Poor network in our area made following the classes tricky for her. It is such a relief that classes have resumed.”
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray interacted with students and teachers and wished them luck. He also unveiled the campaign ‘My Students, My Responsibility’.
Addressing students and teachers across the state, Thackeray said that schools were reopened in Maharashtra from Monday after a lot of deliberations and with a determination that they will not be shut again. He said it was not an easy decision and that they sought guidance from a task force. He asked teachers and parents to ensure schoolchildren get a safe environment after facing the most difficult and challenging times.
BMC officials are also going to railway authorities to issue passes to students travelling by local train and have requested the BEST to allow students to travel for free as per the earlier arrangement.
“We have to take care of students as the monsoon is not over yet. Soon after that October heat will start. After every season, an outbreak of an epidemic is observed. It is very important to ascertain the difference between seasonal infectious disease and Covid-19.”
Thackeray suggested that teachers get tested for Covid-19 if they are not feeling well. “I want to request teachers and parents to take up their responsibilities. The state government is with you. We are not reopening doors of schools but also for our future and development.”
Taking a trip down the memory lane, Thane District Collector Rajesh Narvekar and Thane city Mayor Naresh Mhaske visited Saraswati Secondary School, where the two studied several years ago. Narvekar said he was emotional while visiting his alma mater after a gap of 38 years. Narvekar kickstarted the lessons for Class X and taught a Marathi lesson titled ‘Karte Sudharak Karve’, on the importance of education for women.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar visited Worli Sea Face School and interacted with class 10 students.
Under the Covid 19 protocol, all teaching staff need to be vaccinated with both doses or need to take an RT-PCR test 48 hours prior, and the school management is required to verify such reports with the laboratory.
The SOP details guidelines across nine parameters—attendance, safety and Covid-19 hygiene, teaching, seating arrangements in classrooms, for school managements, teachers, students, and parents.
The BMC has mandated that school managements should link their schools with the nearest primary health centres before restarting classes, to better deal with health emergencies among students and staff.
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