The Maharashtra government has decided to reopen schools across the state from August 17 under strict sops which will help students from class 5 to class 12 resume offline classes as announced by education minister Varsha Gaikwad last week.
There are close to 45 lakh students studying in class 8th to 12th in close to 20000 secondary and higher secondary across Maharashtra.
Schools will reopen for students in areas where cases of covid-19 have seen a significant decline in the last 30 days. Offline classes will resume for students in classes 5-12 in rural areas, and classes 8-12 in cities following strict protocols.
The school management has also asked to start a ‘Back To School’ campaign to let students know about the reopening of schools. Meanwhile, local authorities have been empowered to access the risk and decide on the reopening of schools in their jurisdiction.
Under the SOP, the government has asked for complete vaccination for teachers and school staff before they resume work. They will also have to take a compulsorily RT-PCR test 48 hours before resumption of school
Apart from maintaining the basic protocol of social distancing and wearing a mask, school management should be equipped with a digital thermometer, sanitiser and handwashing facility before reopening.
According to the SOP consent of parents is required for physical presence of student in a classroom. Every school will have to formulate a Safe Transportation plan for the students. School hours will be limited to 3-4 hours per day.
No cultural or sporting events requiring a gathering will be permitted in schools. Schools will provide isolation facilities and to tie up with local health departments for any emergency situation.
Schools to work in shifts/alternate days as the case may be to ensure only 15-20 students are present in class at a given time.
One student will be seated per bench; a distance of six feet between benches will be maintained.
In the event of sickness of the student or a family member, the student is advised to stay at home. It will be the responsibility of the school to ensure such a student’s learning gap is compensated by the school.
Quarantine centres at schools should be discontinued and management should prepare for reopening school for children