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Maharashtra: Covid task force averse to reopening of schools before Diwali

The situation is different in case of colleges which might be allowed to conduct offline classes provided the students and college staff are fully vaccinated.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 21, 2021 10:37:55 am
Maharashtra: Covid task force averse to reopening of schools before DiwaliEarlier this month, the state school education minister Varsha Gaikwad had announced that offline classes would commence on August 17 in rural areas for students from class V to VIII, while in cities, physical classes will be held for students from class VIII to XII following Covid-19 protocols. (Representational image)

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said that the Maharashtra government’s Covid task force believes that schools should not be opened before Diwali.

“The decision regarding reopening of schools will be taken in consultation with the task force. We will go ahead when it tells us to do so. However, considering the situation at present, the task force is of the opinion that schools shouldn’t be reopened before Diwali,” said Pawar in Pune after chairing a Covid-19 review meeting.

He added that there is a stream of opinion that the government should allow schools to be reopened in the districts where infection rate is low.

“A section of parents and management of educational institutions feel that the government shouldn’t wait for so long. It’s an opinion that schools should be opened in districts with zero per cent Covid-19 positivity rate. The final decision will be taken by the chief minister in this regard,” Pawar said.

For colleges, the situation is different and they could be allowed to conduct offline classes if students and college staff are fully vaccinated.

“Colleges can be allowed to reopen for students who are aged above 18 and have taken both the vaccine doses. Teachers and non-teaching staff should also have been fully vaccinated. They can be allowed to hold offline classes by following social distancing norms,” the minister added.

Earlier this month, State School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had announced that offline classes would commence on August 17 in rural areas for the students of classes 5 to 8, while in cities, offline classes would be held for students from classes IX to XII following Covid-19 protocols.

Later, the government issued a standard operating procedure for the reopening that stated that schools should reopen only in those villages and cities where the number of Covid-19 cases has seen a substantial decline over the past month.

The school managements were asked to commence a ‘Back to School’ campaign to let students know that classroom learning would resume.

On Wednesday, Gaikwad said the school reopening GR has not been withdrawn but put on hold and a final decision will be taken in days to come after widespread consultation.

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