Govt. mulls over reopening schools in Maharashtra; task force suggests changes in SOP

Discussions are being held regularly regarding the same and officials expect to implement the suggested changes in the SOP, post which CM Uddhav Thackeray will review the proposal to reopen schools in the state.

Govt. mulls over reopening schools in Maharashtra; task force suggests changes in SOP

Maharashtra was one of the worst affected states in the country during the second coronavirus (COVID-19) wave. However, the cases reduced significantly in a few months, and the state government allowed relaxations across several districts whereby activities resumed under the new normal. Meanwhile, classes continued the online education system and discussions were held regarding resuming schools in the state. 

Sharing more information on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, State Education Minister, Varsha Gaikwad said that the decision has not been taken yet and discussions are underway with the experts from the COVID task force who has requested a few amendments in the guidelines (SOP) before reopening the same Once the changes are made, officials from the concerned department plan to send it to the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who will review the same and approve it with due consideration.

The Hindustan Times quoted Minister Gaikwad who said, “We had a meeting with the state task force as well as the paediatric task force last week, during which they asked us to make changes to the SOP. We have started our preparations. We will again have a meeting with the task force to finalise it and then a proposal will be sent to the chief minister for final approval. They also want us to brief parents and teachers on what they need to do when physical classes resume in schools for which we have started our preparations.” 

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Schools remained closed for certain classes across Maharashtra as the state was affected in both the first and second COVID wave. Online classes are being held from March 2020, and the state government has mulled over reopening schools several times, however, has also received negative feedback from the task force. 

On the other hand, experts have also warned about the third COVID wave which is likely to affect children under the age group of 18. Over the last two weeks in August 2021, i.e. post Independence Day, the health department has reported rise in cases, where the number of children affected with the virus has increased. The state government has been working towards setting up healthcare facilities, specialty wards, etc. to curb the spread further and offer treatment to the children in need. 

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Furthermore, Health Minister Rajesh Tope has also confirmed that the government is working towards vaccinating the school staff at the earliest and this will be done at the earliest to ensure safety as the schools reopen. 

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