While Maharashtra remains at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the country, the state is revisiting the prospects of resuming activities that were abruptly halted in the wake of COVID. One such activity is schooling. The state government has indicated that June 15 onwards there is a possibility of phased opening of schools.
State’s School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has clarified that the resumption of the schools in the state will occur in a phased manner and the schools which are located in the COVID Non-Red Zones will be the first to open.
The state has delineated red zones in the municipal areas in cities including Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, and 15 others. This development took place methodically in the fourth phase of the nation-wide lockdown. The areas which are not delineated as red zones have been considerably freed from mobility and activity constraints.
Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad spelled out certain details of the scheme of school reopening. This she said that classes will be run in shifts, school hours will be curtailed, morning assemblies will not take place nor will any other gathering like sporting activities. She stated, “Maintaining social distancing is the key. The option of pairing students with odd roll numbers and calling them in the first shift and the ones with even roll numbers in the second shift is being considered. Another option is to call a batch of class students every alternate day.”
Despite the concerns over the lapses taking place in studies, the government is not inclined to risk a spike in infections and exposing children to COVID by opening schools in red zones like Mumbai.
Among other changes, the school timings will also be reduced significantly. The schools teach 48 hours a week. Gaikwad has indicated that the hours will be reduced to half initially.
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