Many schools in rural areas of Maharashtra set to reopen on November 23

“We are yet to have clarity on the exact number of districts that will allow reopening of schools, but we know rural areas will see a good number re-opening on Monday. Urban areas may take some time,” an official of the state School Education Department.

While Mumbai, Pune and Thane have decided to keep schools shut till December 31, a majority of schools in the state, especially in rural areas, will re-open on Monday, November 23.

“We are yet to have clarity on the exact number of districts that will allow reopening of schools, but we know rural areas will see a good number re-opening on Monday. Urban areas may take some time,” an official of the state School Education Department.

Anticipating a second wave of Covid-19 in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday decided to shut all schools in the city till December 31. This move was seconded by Pune and Thane corporations. On November 6, the state government had said it was planning to resume schools for students of Classes XI to XII, starting November 23.

According to sources in the department, a virtual meeting of divisional deputy directors, principals and education officers was held on Saturday with Minister Varsha Gaikwad. “In the meeting, members of almost all districts apprised the minister about preparedness to start schools as per directives given by the department,” an official said. “A majority of teachers in the state have already undergone antigen or RT-PCR tests for Covid-19.” He added that Gaikwad said those teachers who tested positive should only join the school after they completely recover, and that schools should be reopened based on the local situation.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Ashish Shelar on Saturday attacked the government’s handling of the issue on Twitter. “In reopening of schools, the local administration is important, but as government, will anything be done?” he tweeted in Marathi. Dismissing Shelar’s tweets, an official from the department said that depending on the requirements of each school, provisions have been made to disburse funds reserved for the district development plan.

Apart from Zilla Parishad schools, ashram shalas (tribal residential schools run by the Tribal Development Department) could also start from the first week of December, the official said. “For Classes XI to XII, we will start calling students to resume education. Migration and nutrition are big concerns — we want to avoid cases of students migrating to other areas, and neglecting their nutritional requirements,” the official added.

Tribal schools in Maharashtra to reopen from December 1

Mumbai: Tribal residential schools in Maharashtra will reopen on December 1, as per orders from the state’s Tribal Development Department. While local bodies are divided over the date of reopening of secondary schools, run by the School Education Department, separate orders were issued for phased reopening of tribal schools.

More than 4.76 lakh tribal students are enrolled across1,234 Ashramshalas and residential schools in Maharashtra’s tribal belts. In the notification issued by the department, operational guidelines adopted earlier by the School Education Department have been replicated.

For now, offline lectures have been allowed only for students of Classes IX to XII, and only 50 per cent capacity of a class is being allowed to enter the school in one batch.

School Education Department had earlier allowed campuses to reopen for senior classes on November 23. However, anticipating a surge in cases in the coming days, several districts, including Mumbai, Thane and Pune, have decided against reopening schools as of now. ENS

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