Schools in Mumbai to remain shut for now
Schools in Mumbai will remain closed for physical classes until further orders, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in an order issued on Friday, even as the Maharashtra government allowed schools to reopen for physical sessions for students of classes 5 to 8 from January 27.
The BMC order stated, “While the situation with respect to Covid-19 is in control in the city, with cases growing in other parts of the world and the risks involved, it has been decided to keep schools in the city closed for physical classes until further orders.” As per earlier guidelines issued by BMC, city schools had to remain closed until January 15. State education minister Varsha Gaikwad said the department had sought CM Uddhav Thackeray’s nod to reopen physical sessions for classes 5 and 8, which he gave during a meeting. The state has already allowed physical classes for classes 9 to 12 from November 23.
“We have got a nod from the chief minister to reopen schools for classes 5 to 8 from January 27. Schools and the local administration will ensure safety and adherence to SOPs before reopening. Like before, the teachers will have to undergo RT-PCR tests,” said the state education minister.
A senior official added that the SOPs would include compulsory RT-PCR tests for teachers, social distancing for students by way of one student on one designated bench, etc.
Mahesh Palkar, education officer of the BMC, said the civic body’s earlier circular on allowing the conduct of board exams and board organised or instructed pre-boards or prelims is still valid. “Exams organised by all boards can be held with appropriate guidelines with respect to Covid-19 in place. Similarly, in case the board asks schools to conduct prelims, they too can be held with due precautions. Other than this, schools shall remain shut,” added Palkar. As per a circular issued by the civic body on January 12, schools under all boards such as the state board, ICSE, CBSE, among others, shall be allowed to conduct all exams announced or to be announced by the respective boards for Class 10 and 12 in the offline format.
Principals from the city expressed their disappointment with the BMC’s decision. “We were hoping that the civic body would at least allow reopening for classes 9 and 10, considering that these students need offline learning more urgently,” said Prashant Redij, spokesperson of the Mumbai Principals’ Association.
Meanwhile , Thackeray asked the education department to create a road map for schools in the state up to 2025. The department plans to take up several measures for the improvement of learning outcomes, including the introduction of ICT based tools, creating model schools etc.
(with inputs from Swapnil Rawal)
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