Days after several school principals raised financial concerns over procurement of items mandated for the re-opening of schools for senior classes, the state school education department on Tuesday wrote to all municipal commissioners and collectors in Maharashtra to support schools in making available the required facilities.
For students from classes IX to XII, schools and junior colleges will reopen from November 23. As per the standard operating protocol (SOP) issued by the department on November 10, all schools have been mandated to ensure that they use thermal guns, pulse oximeters, sanitizers and soaps, apart from ensuring that all teaching and non-teaching staff are checked for Covid-19.
In Tuesday’s circular, Additional Chief Secretary (School Education) Vandana Krishna stated that the role of the local administration in re-opening of schools is mentioned in the SOP released on November 10. She appealed to the local administrations to help schools and junior colleges in procuring necessary devices.
The circular also requested civic officials to help arrange for free RT-PCR tests for all school staffers between
November 17 and November 22.
When contacted, BMC Education Officer Mahesh Palkar said, “The BMC has been running free testing centers where teachers have been asked to get tested. For procurement of devices, we have authorised the headmasters of schools to make purchases from funds already with them. Also, all 1,136 BMC schools will be cleaned from November 20.”
The circular comes as a huge relief to private unaided schools, which do not receive funding from either the BMC or the government. The secretary of Brihanmumbai Association of Heads of Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools, Prashant Redij, welcomed the move.