Published: 04th October 2021
Maharashtra students return to classes from Monday, after an 18-month-long gap
Until now, schools were conducting physical classes only in those areas which were reporting relatively fewer COVID-19 cases
After 18 months of pin-drop-silence, schools in Maharashtra are echoing with thuds of school shoes as they reopen across the state from October 4 for in-person classes. From Monday, Class 5 to Class 12 students in rural areas of the state and Class 8 to Class 12 in the urban areas will be back on their school desks.
In the early hours of the day, Maharashtra's School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad in a tweet said, "Wishing all parents and students the very best as schools reopen across the state today. We hope you enjoy your first day back in a safe atmosphere."
The Maharashtra education department conducted a meeting on Sunday to take stock of the situation before resuming physical classes in schools. "For a smooth transition to physical classes, effective coordination with the health department, local administration will have to be maintained. We are committed to providing a conducive atmosphere to students, many among whom will be returning to class after a year and a half," Gaikwad had tweeted after the meeting.
Until now, schools were conducting physical classes only in those areas which were reporting relatively fewer COVID-19 cases. Last month, Gaikwad had announced that physical classes will resume in schools across the state and the government also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for it.
As per SOPs issued by the state government for the reopening of schools, it is not mandatory for students to attend physical classes. If they want to attend, they will have to submit consent letters from their parents. Gaikwad last month said that as per a survey conducted by the school education department, more than 70 per cent of parents favoured reopening of schools.
In Maharashtra, like several parts of the country, schools were closed since March 2020, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state government in July this year allowed schools to restart physical classes in the rural areas where COVID-19 prevalence was negligible.
The decision mainly benefited the state's Vidarbha region, but schools in major cities like Mumbai and Pune remained closed. The decision to reopen schools now was taken after consulting health officials as well as the state government's COVID-19 task force, Gaikwad earlier said.
With inputs from PTI
Edited by Eshan Kalyanikar