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Schools in Maharashtra Opening up From 1st December and SOPs Issued; Mumbai, Pune Schools to Remain Shut Till December 15

Mumbai, Pune Schools will not be reopening from tomorrow i.e. December 1, 2021. BMC has deferred this reopening for classes 1 to 7 to December 15, 2021 in view of the emergence of the new COVID variant.

Back to School
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Since the Covid’19 pandemic has struck the world, schools and colleges around the world have been shut. In India, the government had initiated to open schools various times, but due to the recurrent waves of Corona, they have been shut again multiple times. Many schools have begun to provide offline lessons as the situation improves. 

From December 1, the Maharashtra government has released rules for the reopening of primary schools. COVID 19 acceptable conduct and vaccination of teachers and personnel in schools has been noticed by the state government. The Maharashtra cabinet has agreed to reopen schools for kids in grades 1 to 4 in rural areas and grades 1 to 7 in urban areas. 

The instructions indicated that students and teachers living in confinement zones should not be permitted to attend school. On reopening of schools, the government is ensuring that all schools observe Covid proper behaviour such as maintaining a six-foot social distance, wearing face masks, and washing hands.

Schools in Mumbai, Pune:

Mumbai Schools will not be reopening from tomorrow i.e. December 1, 2021. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai stated in its official notice that “to ensure the safe return of students to school, MCGM has decided to defer the decision of opening of schools for std. 1st to 7th by 14 days. Schools for Std. 1st to 7th will open from 15th December 2021.” 

Pune schools to remain shut till December 15 in view of the emergence of new covid variant. As per the official order, the corporation informed that further decisions on the reopening of schools will be taken after reviewing the situation after December 15, reported news agency ANI.

Schools in Nashik: 

Nashik municipal authorities had already announced on Sunday that schools in the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) area will remain closed till December 10. 

Rules to follow and Protocols:

Apart from these basic covid protocols, the Maharashtra government has also issued SOPs to be followed strictly in schools. The SOP was divided into two sections: hygiene, sanitation, teaching preparation prior to the reopening of the school, and rules for while classes are in session. Below are the guidelines issued by the government.

1. Mandatory vaccination for Staff

Before returning to work, the state government has demanded that all employees, including teachers, be completely vaccinated. Before starting school, all instructors and staff must submit an RT-PCR test report 48 hours in advance. Before reporting to duty, they should be completely vaccinated. Students, instructors, and staff must all be subjected to thermal screening.

2. 100 % Attendance is not mandatory and virtual query solving PTA sessions arranged

While schools have called for obligatory attendance, the state government has declared that 100% attendance is not required and that pupils must have their parents’ permission to attend school. Parents are advised not to send their children if they are sick or if a family member is suffering from a fever or cough. Many private schools in Mumbai organized online and in-person sessions over the last two days to answer parents’ questions. Parents spent a few days at school inspecting washrooms, corridors, playgrounds, school gates, and other areas where children must maintain social distance and follow other regulations.

3. Personal Transport Encouraged

To prevent the virus from spreading, the SOP advises parents to drop their children off at school in their own cars. If school buses are utilized, the bus driver and attendant should be properly vaccinated, and there should be adequate ventilation in the vehicles and several journeys to pick up and drop off the students. In air-conditioned buses, a temperature of 24-30 degrees Celsius should be maintained.

4. Six-feet social distance spacing to be maintained in classrooms

According to the SOPs, classrooms should be reorganized to enable at least 6 feet of space between students, with just one pupil sitting on a desk bench. The typical class size will be 15 to 20 people. Redesigning school grounds to avoid transmission and (where practicable) establishing a “school health clinic” that would be operated by a qualified nurse-aide appointed by the school, a volunteer, or a doctor-parent, or linking the schools to the nearest health facilities.

5. Children to be called in different shifts and in an odd-even manner for bigger class size

In case of a bigger class size, the school might split courses into two groups and call them on different days. There will be no lunch breaks and classrooms will run for no longer than 3-4 hours. When there are more children than can be summoned in two shifts, another option is to call half the children on the first day and the remaining half on the second day using the odd-even method.

6. Programs and activities requiring a crowd are prohibited

Such activities will be forbidden in schools if they create crowding or force kids to get closer, violating social distance guidelines. Meetings between teachers and parents are also encouraged to be held online as often as feasible.

Additional Children Care:

In addition to the strict guidelines to be followed by the schools, a few extra things have been suggested to b implemented in schools for proper care and wellbeing of the students. 

  • Toilets, classrooms, seats, doorknobs, and other widely used items must all be disinfected on a regular basis, according to the regulation. Water bottles, stationery, and books should be encouraged to be brought by students.
  • Teachers are instructed to keep an eye on children who seem weary or breathless, as well as those who exhibit other Covid-19 signs such as cough, fever, or weakness. Children in this situation should be transported to the nearest clinics and doctors.
  • The pupils and staff will need to wear masks over their noses and mouths.
  • It will be vital for schools to provide hand sanitizers and soaps so that children do not have difficulty washing or sanitizing their hands.

What do you think?

Written by Marya

Loves reading, critiquing and writing. Philosophical and poetic with a charm of sarcasm adds to my approach. Dance, cinema and music make to my list of hobbies. Explore and express are the key elements of my life.

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