Even as the Maharashtra state government announced its decision to allow physical classrooms in the state from October 4, Mumbai’s local administrative government, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is still mulling over reopening of city’s schools. The MCGM is expected to announce its decision regarding the reopening of schools early next week.
Earlier on Friday, the state government announced its decision to allow the phased reopening of physical schools for classes V to XII in rural areas and classes VIII to XII in urban areas. However, local authorities have been given the power to implement or withhold the decision, depending on the local pandemic conditions.
Kishori Pednekar, Mumbai’s mayor, and elected chief of the MCGM said, “Several factors like the current Corona positivity rate and vaccination coverage of teachers etc. would have to be considered before announcing the final decision since it was a question of children’s safety.”
Reopening of schools have been delayed due to fears of a possible third wave of the pandemic severely impacting children. However, since August local administrations have conducted special vaccination drives to cover teachers to ensure schools can be reopened without fear of infections. According to Pednekar, 70 percent of school teachers have been vaccinated and 7,000 of the total 10,000 municipal corporation’s school teachers have been vaccinated till date. Mumbai registered 446 new Covid cases and six deaths (September 24) of the state’s 3286 new infections and 51 fatalities.
The latest decision, though taken in consultation with the task force, mandates strict protocols to be followed by the schools. Announcing the decision on Friday, the state’s education minister, Varsha Gaikwad cautioned, “Every school will also have to conduct a parent-teacher meeting and appraise parents about precautions as well as the immediate steps taken by the school administration.” While there is no compulsion for students to attend physical classes, those attending will need parental consent.
There has been a growing demand for resumption of schools across the state. A survey conducted by the State council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) (July 9-12) showed 81 percent of the state’s parents wanted schools to reopen immediately. The survey asked parents if they were willing to send their wards to schools if schools reopened with all the precautionary measures for Covid-19 in place. Earlier this week, upset with the delay in reopening of schools, the Maharashtra English school Trustee’s Association (MESTA) threatened to reopen schools without awaiting government consent from Monday, September 27.News, States