Amid fear of the new Covid-19 variant, the Maharashtra government is all set to reopen schools for class 1 onwards from December 1. Schools will not be functioning as per the pre-Covid times. The number of hours has been reduced to 3-4 hours a day. Further students will be divided into small batches and called on alternative days.
Announcing the reopening guidelines, Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said, “The government is sensitive to the possibility of a third wave and no laxity in implementation of SOPs will be permitted. Our students are our future. Let us all come together to ensure their health, wellbeing and continued education.”
In the first two weeks of school reopening, the focus will be to “acclimatise and re-orient students towards attending physical classes”. Schools will slowly ease students into regular coursework, said Gaikwad.
Even though schools will be reopening it is not mandatory to attend physical classes. Students would need parental consent to attend schools. Those who do not want to attend physical classes can continue schooling in online mode. “In the event of the sickness of the student or a family member, the student is advised to stay at home. It will be the responsibility of the school to ensure such a student’s learning gap is compensated by the school,” read the guidelines.
Schools have been asked to work in shifts or on alternate days as the case may be to ensure only 15-20 students are present in class at a given time. One student will be seated per bench and a distance of six feet between benches to be maintained, as per the guidelines. No cultural or sporting events which require a gathering will be permitted in schools. Schools have also been asked to provide isolation facilities and to tie up with the local health departments for any emergency situation.
Only fully vaccinated staff will be allowed on the premises. School transport operators also must be fully vaccinated. Usage of masks will be mandatory for children at all times. Teachers and school staff to ensure strict compliance to masking up.