Offline classes only for subjects like Mathematics & Science, other subjects to be taught in online classes only.
Maharashtra CM, Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday, permitted the schools to reopen for classes IX to XII from November 23. The Chief Minister also reviewed the standard operating procedures that schools have to follow, as a defence against the spread and surge of infection among the students, teachers and staff.
SOP for School Students and Staff
The Chief Minister on Saturday allowed schools in Mumbai and other state districts to resume after Diwali. A detailed set of guidelines and precautions to maximise student-teacher safety were also reviewed and established by the department of education under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister. The Education Minister stated that local administrative bodies will conduct a mass RT-PCR testing drive for all teachers in the state, and only those furnishing negative results will be allowed to conduct classes within school premises.
She further added that all schools will have to conduct thermal screening procedures for staff and students and also change the seating arrangements so as to accommodate no more than 20-30 students in a class, with one student at one bench, at a distance of 1 meter to each other. be mandatory for allowing students to attend physical classes at school. All students and staff have been instructed to wear homemade reusable masks at all times. Pupils have been advised to either walk or use cycles to reach schools to avoid crowding in buses and no other individual except those authorised by the institutions will be permitted to enter the premises.
The directives further detail that classes will either be conducted in shifts or on alternate days to prevent crowding at schools. Each shift will be scheduled for a maximum of 4 hours only. The Education Minister also stated that only subjects such as Maths and Science will require physical guidance, while others will continue online. Since health experts have suspected a surge in the number of coronavirus cases after Diwali, schools have been told to prepare for online classes in advance if physical classes need to be discontinued to arrest the coronavirus spread. There are regions in the state where temperatures fall sharply by November end and this may further contribute to the infection caseload.
All group activities such as tiffin breaks, assemblies, sports, common water-coolers and other gatherings will not be allowed. Students are expected to eat from home and then come to school, however, permission to carry individual water bottles has been granted.
Schools to consider parental consent and views
The Education Minister also stated that reopening schools is not compulsory for any schools or students, as online classes for all subjects will continue as scheduled. Schools have decided to consult parents before re-opening schools. Parental consent will also be mandatory to allow students to attend physical classes. The Chief Minister further stated that parents need to exercise caution in granting this permission and should not grant it if any family member is unwell.
The role of Local Administration
Most government educational institutions were transformed by the state authorities as isolation centres which cannot be disbanded as of yet. Local authorities need to be consulted to get alternate sites for holding classes for the students of such institutions. Other preparations such as sanitation and cleanliness of classes, students and staff will also be initiated.