Schools, colleges shut in Pune: Review to be taken on Feb 26; study circles, libraries to remain open
PUNE Considering the increasing number of Covid cases in Pune district, all schools, colleges and private coaching classes will be closed till February 28.
This was declared on Sunday by Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao.
Study circles and libraries will remain open for students appearing for competitive exams, as their exams are scheduled in the month of March.
Rao was speaking at a press conference held after a review meeting held on Sunday at the Council Hall, by deputy chief minister and Pune district guardian minister Ajit Pawar.
“One of the important decisions taken in the review meeting is that all schools and colleges will remain closed till February 28. On Friday, February 26, a review meeting will be taken by the guardian minister about the effect of this closure on students. Accordingly, what strategy needs to be taken further will be decided,” Rao said.
For students preparing for competitive examinations, study circles and libraries will remain open in Pune district.
The Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) state civil service preliminary examinations, which were delayed and postponed, have been now re-scheduled on March 14, 2021.
“For the students preparing for competitive exams, as their schedule exams are coming, study circles will remain open with 60 per cent occupancy inside the library,” said Rao.
The decision has come at a crucial time when colleges, schools and private universities were geared for offline lectures on campus.
On January 4, initially, Class 8 to 12 students were allowed on campus.
Then for universities and colleges, February 15 was announced by state technical and higher education minister Uday Samant, to start offline classes.
Though there was not much response in the first week, most prominent colleges in Pune were planning to start in earnest from this week.
“Education and safety of students are top priorities in these Covid times. Today’s decision taken by the government authorities is always welcome, as safety of students comes first. We already have our online technology in place for the last one year, so we would continue our online teaching, practicals and conducting exams. We have informed students in the afternoon through a bulk messaging system not to attend college till February 28. We have our preliminary examinations of Class 12 going on, but we have given online and offline options to students,” said Rajendra Zunjarrao, principal, Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Shivajinagar.
Sanjay Shendge, principal, Seth Dagaduram Katariya High School said, “As schools resumed last month, we were taking all the necessary safety precautions, but looking at the increasing number of Covid cases in the district, a right decision has been taken and we are again turning towards online teaching. All our teachers and students have been given instructions accordingly and Monday onwards, online classes will resume back.”
As per the data shared by the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) education department, till now 700 schools of a total of 948 schools in its jurisdiction have reopened. This includes both private and government-run schools.
“Since past few days, the Covid positivity rate of Pune city has increased to 10% from 4.5% a fortnight ago. In the light of this, we have decided to impose certain restrictions. The aim is to prevent the infection further,” said Rao after the meeting chaired by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday.
During the meeting, Pawar asked Pune Municipal Corporation and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations to increase Covid-19 testing and also focus on contact tracing. The minister also instructed resumption of Covid care centres in rural parts the district with a high prevalence of the disease.
Over 847 new Covid-19 cases were recorded within 24 hours on Saturday, taking the active case count to over 9,217 and the progressive count stood at 3.99 lakh out of which 3.81 lakh have recovered and 8,076 were declared dead. The department also reported eight new deaths on Saturday.
Pune city reported 430 new cases taking the progressive count to 203,782 and the death toll stood at 4,563 as five deaths were reported in the 24 hours preceding Saturday. PCMC reported 189 fresh cases, taking the progressive count to 99,596 and the death toll reached 1,323 with two deaths reported in the last 24 hours preceding Saturday. Similarly, Pune rural reported 228 new cases with the progressive count reaching 95,876 and the death toll reached 2,142 with one new death reported.