With the rising fear of new variant of Coronavirus -Omicron, many state governments are mulling over to impose stricter norms to prevent the increasing cases of Covid. Going by the last few years trend, schools are usually among the first places to get closed with spike in COVID cases, this year also many states are considering to do so.
Across the country, schools had recently reopened after a long gap due to the Covid-19. But in view of the increasing case of Omicron, states including Maharashtra and Karnataka, are likely to close schools again.
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Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad recently said that the State government is monitoring the situation and may order closure of schools if the cases continue to escalate. Speaking to the media, Gaikwad said, “If the cases of Omicron keep increasing, then we can announce the closure of schools again. We are monitoring the situation."
As per the recent numbers, Maharashtra has 54 Omicron COVID-19 cases and is only behind the national capital Delhi (57).
Schools for classes 5th to 12th in rural areas of Maharashtra and classes 8th to 12th in urban areas reopened in October for higher classes. Physical classes activities were resumed in the state from December 1. Schools in Mumbai were reopened on 15 December. At the same time, the school that reopened in Pune was also postponed till December 15 amid fears of new variants of Covid.
In Karnataka, after a covid-cluster was reported in a college recently, the State government has asked all educational institutes to postponed all programs and gathering in educational institutions till January 15. “Students will not be allowed to attend offline classes in schools until their parents are fully vaccinated," a government statement said.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh on 6 December said that if the situation prevails, the government will stop the examination and conduct of schools. “The education department is monitoring the situation on an hourly basis and won’t hesitate to initiate action. If needed appropriate decisions would be taken on conducting examinations also. In exam halls, social distancing is ensured. We are keeping the option of closure of schools open and cancelling examinations in case of a severe spike of COVID cases," he said, as per media reports.
Read|Maharashtra Schools May Shut Again if Omicron Cases Continue to Rise: Gaikwad
The Center has also asked states to activate “war rooms" and bring back restrictions including night curfew and curfew in gatherings to contain the spread.
Overall, more than 300 cases of Omicron have been reported in India with Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu & Telangana leading. As the threat becomes real, scores are parents are also urging the schools to continue with online classes and not reopen physical schools. However, so far no recommendation has been made regarding the closure of schools. Meanwhile, in other states such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, many schools are reverting back to online classes due to the fear of increasing Covid cases.
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