Home >Education >News >Maharashtra: Schools to reopen from 4 Oct, announces Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad
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The Maharashtra government on Friday decided to resume physical classes in schools from 4 October, announced state Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, adding that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has approved the decison. 

The latest decision was taken after consulting health officials as well as the state government's Covid-19 task force, Gaikwad said.

Schools will reopen in a phased manner. In rural areas, classes will resume for the students of 5 to 12 and in urban areas, for 8 to 12. The Maharashtra government is making efforts to bring back children to schools. The local authorities have also been given powers, she added.

Until now schools were conducting physical classes only in those areas which were reporting relatively fewer cases of coronavirus. Physical classes would not resume yet for standards 1st to 7th in urban areas and standards 1st to 4th in rural areas.

“Though schools will reopen in the entire state, there is no compulsion for students to attend physical classes. Consent of parents will be necessary if they want to attend," the minister added.

Over 70% parents favoured reopening of schools

According to a survey conducted by the school education department, over 70% parents favoured reopening of schools, Gaikwad said.

The state government in July this year had allowed schools to restart physical classes in the rural areas where Covid-19 prevalence was negligible. The decision mainly benefited Vidarbha region. But schools in major cities such as Mumbai and Pune remained closed.

“The school education department has given the powers to implement the decision as per local conditions to district collectors. Every school will have to conduct a parent-teacher meeting and apprise parents about precautions as well as the immediate steps to be taken by the school administration," she said.

As to the residential schools run by the tribal development department, a separate decision will be taken by that ministry, Gaikwad said.

Talking to reporters in Pune, Minister for Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant said CM Thackeray has sought reports from vice chancellors of state universities about reopening, and colleges could resume in-person classes after Diwali.

Maharashtra had earlier formed a committee to set guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the reopening of schools.

The suggested SOPs include staggered school hours, social distancing inside classrooms, setting up school health clinics, among others. Sanitisation of schools, staggered entry of students, wearing masks are among mandatory protocols.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Thursday reported 3,320 COVID-19 cases and 61 deaths, which took its infection tally to 65,34,557 and toll to 1,38,725, a health department official said. With 4,050 patients getting discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, the recovery count rose to 63,53,079. 

The state now has 39,191 active cases. The state has 2,61,842 people in home quarantine and another 1,461 in institutional quarantine, the official said. The state's COVID-19 recovery rate now stands at 97.22 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent. 

The cumulative number of coronavirus tests conducted in the state climbed to 5,76,46,515 as 1,70,373 samples were examined in the last 24 hours, he said. 

As many as eight districts - Dhule, Bhandara, Hingoli, Gondia, Nanded, Akola, Amravati and Chandrapur - did not report any new infection case. Similarly, Jalgaon, Parbhani and Chandrapur municipal corporations (urban areas) also did not record any cases in the last 24 hours. 

Ahmednagar district reported the highest number of 577 new infections, followed by Mumbai city at 498. Satara district logged the highest 13 fatalities in the state during the day. Out of the eight regions in the state, Pune region reported the highest 1,159 new cases followed by 1,050 in Mumbai region. 

Nashik region reported 700 new cases, Kolhapur 251, Latur 104, Aurangabad 27, Nagpur 17 and Akola region 12 new cases. 

According to the official, among the 61 fresh fatalities, as many as 28 were reported from Pune region, followed by 11 from Nashik and nine from Kolhapur region. Mumbai and Latur regions logged six deaths each, followed by one fatality in Nagpur region. 

However, Aurangabad and Akola regions did not report any death due to the virus in the last 24 hours. Mumbai city witnessed 498 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths, while Pune city reported 182 cases, but no fresh fatalities. 

Of the 39,191 active patients in the state, Pune district has the highest at 9,807, the officiasaid. Out of the 63,53,079 recoveries reported in the state so far, the highest - 11,08,460 - were are from Pune district, he added.

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