Offline classes to commence for 8th to 12th grades in Maharashtra's COVID free villages

Schools to be opened on alternate days or shifts, with due safety protocols in place.

The Maharashtra government on Monday passed a resolution to commence offline school for classes 8 to 12 in COVID-19-free village panchayats across. As per reports, offline sessions are set to begin immediately, with due safety protocols in place. The state has asked school authorities to discuss the same with the parents-guardians and initiate a phased reopening.

Safety protocols to prevent COVID rise in schools

The Maharashtra School Education department has prescribed a thorough set of guidelines to reopen schools in pandemic free village panchayats. Reportedly, schools are expected to run on alternate days or in shifts (morning/afternoon) to stagger the pupil population, in line with the social distancing norms.

Only one student will be allowed to sit on one bench, at least 6 feet apart from another student. As such, no more than 15 to 20 students will be allowed to sit in the same classroom. Other safety precautions and protocols, such as wearing masks, washing hands and frequent sanitisation need to be implemented strictly.

Parents have been advised to not send their wards to school if they show any symptoms of the flu. In line with this, attendance for these classes will not be compulsory, underlined the order. Further, all gram schools have been ordained to discontinue any credit or award related to the same. Offline classes will be arranged for only a few core subjects initially, read the order, while other papers will be taught online.

Sanitisation preparations at Maharashtra gram schools

The state Education Department has directed all school management and local gram panchayats to prepare for thorough sanitisation of school premises before reopening schools for children. The authorities have to ensure the prerequisites for handwashing facilities, contactless infrared thermometer and RT-PCR or rapid antigen tests (RAT) for all school staff. Norms of social distancing must be practised and posters and charts to spread COVID awareness among the kids should be put up across the campus, the department ordered.

Once schools reopen, the managements have to make sure that they are cleaned every day, especially common surfaces like doorknobs, latches and school stationery. Availability of hand wash and water must also be looked into.

Online classes for students of lower grades

The state of Maharashtra is not in favour of awarding wide-scale relaxations despite the curbed COVID test positivity ratio. The territory was the most impacted hotspot during the second wave of coronavirus and with eminent fears of the spreading Delta Plus strain and expectant rise of a 'third wave', the state has decided to exercise more precaution.

Therefore, offline classes for lower grades, co-curricular activities and school functions and events will remain suspended as of now. Students of lower grades will continue their academic sessions online, the state concluded.

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