After 18 months of closure, Physical classes in Maharashtra resume; Details

Schools across Maharashtra reopened for students of classes 5 to 12 on October 4 more than 18 months after the coronavirus outbreak forced their shut down in the state. The physical classes in the state resumed and thereby students returned back to their classes.

School education minister Varsha Gaikwad had earlier said, “All the schools in rural areas will resume physical classes for standards 5th to 12th.”  However, if students want to go for offline classes as attendance, it is not mandatory. Students and parents can take decisions about it.

“Wishing all parents and students the very best as schools reopen across the state today. We hope you enjoy your first day back in a safe atmosphere,” the minister tweeted on October 4. Moreover, many students were also eagerly waiting for their physical classes to be reopened amid the Covid pandemic.

Online education for the academic year 2021-22 began in the month of June. A month later, the villages free of Covid-19 were then permitted to welcome classes 8-12 students. Physical classes would not resume yet for standards 1st to 7th in urban areas and standards 1st to 4th in rural areas.

After a survey conducted by the state’s school education department, the decision on reopening the schools was taken. Also, the decision was based on the interest of the students to go back to their old school days.

However, the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) will prepare an action plan and help officials overcome any hurdles in resuming physical classes, the minister Varsha Gaikwad said. The minister also added that students will be facilitated with access to online and offline classes. They will come to schools only with the consent of their parents.

Different school hours, social distancing inside classrooms, setting up school health clinics are some of the suggested SOPs the Maharashtra government has set for schools to reopen. As to the residential schools run by the tribal development department, a separate plan will be taken by that ministry, Gaikwad said.