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Pune: Low response to school reopening call; students stay out of classrooms, schools shut

From not receiving COVID negative test reports of teachers to delay in permission from the local body to start school and even a 'wait-and-watch approach to see if the government changes its mind on reopening schools, the reasons were varied.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune | Updated: January 4, 2021 1:40:47 pm
Children wearing the mask for safety at a school. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar/File)

Even though Monday was supposed to be the day to mark the return of students to classrooms as schools across the city were supposed to finally open doors to senior students, there was a bleak response to the call for reopening schools.

From not receiving COVID negative test reports of teachers to delay in permission from the local body to start school and even a ‘wait-and-watch approach to see if the government changes its mind on reopening schools, the reasons were varied.

Despite the state government making the announcement several days in advance, the local body was yet to complete inspections of schools and junior colleges and circulated last minute surveys on sanitisation, which led to a delay in permission.

The number of high schools in Pune Municipal Limits runs in several hundreds but when asked for a list of schools that recieved permissions to open on Janaury 4, local authorities shared a list of 17schools for the same.

“The other schools have either not completed RT PCR tests for teachers or the inspections are not complete. In any case, we cannot allow the schools to restart without all these conditions being fulfilled. As and when reports come in, the numbers will increase,” said Meenakshi Raut, education officer, PMC.

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Several schools on the list however were closed. Only one of them, Vishwakarma Vidyalaya in Bibvewadi had started classes for one batch of Class 12, Science division. Principal Sulabha Deshmukh said that 17 students of the 30 students whose parents had consented came for classes. “We recieved the permission last minute so that’s why everything was done in hurry and maybe numbers were low. The RT PCR tests of other teachers will come in today, maybe we can start their classes tomorrow. We had report of only one teacher, so we started with her class,” she said.

The principal admits that even though classroom lectures have begun and students are excited to return to school, the mood is heavy as strict rules are in place. “We have divided one division into two classrooms, one student per bench. From the entry point of the college, parking, staircase, grounds, laboratory, marking has been done,” she said.

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