Home >News >India >Maharashtra: Schools in Covid-free zones can resume offline classes from next week

Areas that have not detected even a single case of Covid-19 over the last month can restart schools for students of classes 8 to 12 from 15 July, said a revised government resolution by the Maharashtra school education department.

"A blended approach to education is the need of the hour in these difficult times. While we continue to promote remote learning and online education, we are also working towards a safe resumption of schools in corona free villages," said minister of school education department Varsha Gaikwad while sharing the government order.

"As a first step, villages which have not had Covid-19 cases for more than a month and where the gram panchayat resolves to adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour in consensus with parents/guardians will be permitted to reopen classrooms for standard 8 to12 from 15 July," she added.

The government order states that all concerned teachers and school staff will need to be vaccinated before the reopening. "The government is sensitive to the possibility of a third wave. Hence no laxity will be permitted," it said.

Further, the government requires the formation of an eight-member committee consisting of local collectors, school principals and health officials to decide on Covid-free zones. In rural areas, the committee will be headed by the head of the gram panchayat.

A committee will also be formed at the district level and schools will need a go-ahead from the committee before reopening.

The order further states that schools will be required to follow all Covid standard operating procedures (SOP) and conduct regular temperature checks of students when on campus.

"Schools need to ensure that not more than 20 students should be seated in a class to ensure proper social distancing rules is followed," it said.

The sarpanch of a village will be responsible for the implementation of all protocols and the Chief Executive Officer of the local Zilla Parishad will supervise the operations and take regular reviews.

"In these challenging times, let us all come together to safeguard our future. Continuity of education for all our children, their wellbeing, health and safety will remain at the forefront of all our decisions and considerations," said Gaikwad.

The state had also released an order on Monday for the resumption of classes but it was later withdrawn after complaints of loopholes in the process were raised.

Covid situation in state

Maharashtra on Wednesday reported 9,558 new coronavirus cases and 147 fatalities, taking the tally of infections to 61,22,893 and the toll to 1,23,857.

A total of 8,899 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries in Maharashtra to 58,81,167 so far, leaving the state with 1,14,625 active cases.

Maharashtra's recovery rate now stands at 96.05% while the Covid-19 fatality rate is 2.02% and the positivity rate 14.2%.

Currently, 6,34,423 people are under home quarantine while 4,645 are in institutional quarantine in Maharashtra.

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