- Maharashtra to reopen schools for classes 1-4 in rural areas and for 1-7 in urban areas from Dec 1
- "We're committed to safe resumption of schools," Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad
- "We will be holding consultations with school management committees and parents," Gaikwad added
After discussing with CM Uddhav Thackeray, cabinet, and the pediatric task force, the Maharashtra government on Thursday announced that it has decided to reopen schools for classes 1 to 4 in rural areas and for 1 to 7 in urban areas from December 1.
Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said that the state cabinet has decided to reopen schools from standard 1-4 in rural areas and standard 1-7 in urban areas on the said date, according to news agency ANI.
"We are committed to safe resumption of schools. In the next six days, the emphasis will be on acclimatizing schools, parents and children towards a safe transition to physical classes, as classrooms have been shut for nearly two years. We will be holding consultations with school management committees and parents," she added.
The decision came after a high-level meeting with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, cabinet and paediatric task force, the minister further added.
She will also hold deliberations with the pediatric task force on the need to update Standard Operating Procedure for reopening schools for these children, some of whom will be attending physical classes for the first time, Gaikwad said.
The task force was appointed earlier this year when experts feared that children might be affected by a possible third wave. The education minister thanked schools, especially teachers, for ensuring a safe environment for classes that have resumed so far.
Schools reopened for Classes 5 to 12 in rural areas on October 4, while those in urban areas resumed for Classes 8 to 12.
In October, the Maharashtra government had decided to resume physical classes in schools for some classes. Gaikwad had announced that in rural areas, classes will resume for the students of 5 to 12 and in urban areas, for 8 to 12.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that the third wave of coronavirus pandemic is expected in December but it will be mild in impact.
Speaking to a news channel, he had said medical oxygen and ICU beds will not be required during the third wave period.
"The third wave is expected to be mild and medical oxygen and ICU beds will not be required," he said.
Speaking about the current COVID-19 scenario, Tope said as 80 per cent of citizens are vaccinated in Maharashtra, the infection level and the mortality rate is less at present.
Maharashtra on Wednesday recorded 960 new COVID-19 cases and 41 fatalities that raised the tally of infections to 66,32,257 and death toll to 1,40,807.