New Delhi | Jagran Education Desk: Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Friday announced that the government has decided to reopen all schools in the state from October 4. However, Gaikwad said that the students will only be allowed to go to schools after the consent of the parents and keeping this in view, will not be made compulsory for any beneficiary scheme or exam.

Varsha Gaikwad said that schools in rural areas will resume from October 4 for students of classes 5th to 12th, while in urban areas, schools will resume for students of classes 8th to 12th from October 4. The decision was taken by the chief minister after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the state. The COVID task force and health department have also approved the decision of reopening schools in the state, Gaikwad said.

"The schools in Maharashtra will reopen from October 4th. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has approved this, the task force and health department have also approved the decision of reopening schools in the state", Varsha Gaikwad said.

"In rural areas classes will resume from std 5th to 12th and in urban areas from std 8th to 12th. Govt is making efforts to bring back children to schools. Local authorities have been given powers", she added.

Until now schools were conducting physical classes only in those areas which were reporting relatively fewer COVID-19 cases. Physical classes would not resume yet for standards 1st to 7th in urban areas and standards 1st to 4th in rural areas. As per a survey conducted by the school education department, more than 70 per cent of parents favoured reopening of schools.  

"Students will come to schools only with the consent of their parents, attendance will not be made compulsory for any beneficiary scheme or exam. Students will be able to receive education through both online and offline mediums. Our content is available on YouTube too", she said further.

Earlier, the state government had formed a committee that will be responsible for setting the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines for the reopening of schools. The suggested guidelines include -- social distancing in classrooms, sanitization of schools, wearing of masks properly, staggered entry of students, and staggered school hours.

Maharashtra, during the last 24 hours, reported 3,320 COVID-19 cases and 61 deaths, which took its infection tally to 65,34,557 and toll to 1,38,725. With 4,050 patients getting discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, the recovery count rose to 63,53,079. Maharashtra now has 39,191 active cases. The state's COVID-19 recovery rate now stands at 97.22 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan