The state of Maharashtra on Thursday announced its decision of reopening schools for all students from class 1 onwards, starting December 1. From Wednesday, schools will be conducting regular, physical sessions for standards 1 to 7 for the first time in 19 months. With this, all school students in the state, except those in pre-primary and kindergarten grades will be permitted to attend school, under the authority of listed COVID guidelines and SOPs.
Noteworthily, the final decision regarding the reopening of schools in Mumbai will be taken by the BMC Commissioner. This decision will affect about 11 lakh students (from classes 1 to 7 ) in the city.
New SOPs to be added for student safety
Maharashtra Education Department, after several discussions and consultations with the Paediatric COVID-19 task force, has consented to the reopening of schools for primary classes. The decision will be implemented under the watch of all COVID-19 norms, read reports, however, the state has mandated parents' consent for the offline attendance.
As informed by the State School Education Minister that additional precautions will be further undertaken for the young students, with the consultation of school administrations, parents and the paediatric task in the coming days. Officials of the EduDept also informed that the decision regarding the reopening of pre-primary schools, anganwadis and daycare centres will be taken in according to the parental responsibility for primary students.
A tug of opinions
Though schools have welcomed the move, they have highlighted compulsory attendance, for smooth functioning. It will become very difficult to teach young students in both online and offline formats, simultaneously. Different schedules and techniques will also have to be developed for the same. As such, it would be effectively better to kickstart offline classes.
Parents, on the other hand, are quite uncertain about the decision. There is no vaccine in place and young kids have a habit of touching things and sharing stationery which may cause infection, stated folks. Guardians and parents believe that the administration needs to come up with a specific strategy before they announce the reopening.
Opening schools is necessary
Students will be returning to campus for the first time in almost 2 years, the Minister said, and all efforts are being made to ensure that they get in the groove of physical classes quickly. Students are missing out on interactive holistic growth. Classroom teaching and the school system form an important part of children's learning experience, especially the primary lot.
While it may be quite a task for the schools to manage young kids and ensure the mask and social distance criteria at all times, the move was necessary to prevent students from dropping out of the school system, the Minister added.