Survey finds 62% parents in Maharashtra unwilling to send kids back to school despite BMC's green light

Parents are of the opinion that schools should reopen only after the Total Positivity Rate (TRP) falls below five per cent in the state. Currently, the TRP is hovering at around 23.4 per cent
Representational image (Picture: Express)
Representational image (Picture: Express)

About 62 per cent of surveyed parents in Maharashtra are unwilling to send their children to school from Monday, January 24, amid the state government's decision to allow the reopening of schools from that day.

The findings were based on a survey conducted by the online community platform LocalCircle across tier-I, tier-II/III and tier-IV cities of the state and they received 4,976 responses. Among the respondents, 67 per cent identified as men and 33 per cent identified as women.

Immediately, after the onset of the Omicron-led third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government had on January 8 ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the state up until February 15 to contain the spread of the virus.

However, on January 20, the state Education Minister, contrary to the earlier decision, announced that schools in the state for Classes I to XII will reopen from January 24. This was after the state reported a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allowed schools to reopen in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has allowed local bodies to take the decision on reopening schools after assessing the COVID-19 situation in their respective areas.

However, students will not be forced to attend physical classes where schools reopen. In cities like Pune and Aurangabad, it has been decided to keep schools shut and continue classes online. LocalCircles claims that they have been closely tracking parents' willingness to send their children to attend in-person classes in school at a national and state level since the pandemic started. Amid Maharashtra's announcement to reopen schools, the organisation approached parents to understand their willingness to send their wards to attend classes in school from January 24.

In response, a majority, 62 per cent, of the parents surveyed said that they are unwilling to send their children to school from January 24.

However, 11 per cent of citizens said they are okay with sending kids to school from January 24, while 16 per cent admitted that their children are already attending schools, found the survey.

On Friday, Maharashtra reported 48,270 COVID cases from 2,05,938 tests conducted and there were 37 related deaths, said the organisation. Test Positivity Rate (TPR) in the state continues to remain high at 23.4 per cent, it said, adding that with children under the age of 15 years being unvaccinated, 15-18 age group only partially vaccinated and the highly transmissible nature of Omicron, many parents are concerned about sending children to school.

In the community discussions, many of them have highlighted long-term implications of COVID and the need for in-person schools to start only when TPR falls to five per cent or lower, it stated.

The platform also said it will share the findings of this survey with the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare so that the pulse of the citizens is taken into account for Maharashtra.

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