‘Do not reopen schools yet, wait till July at least’: Experts to Maharashtra govt
Earlier, the department had sought suggestions from the stakeholders, including school owners, principals, and parents, for reopening schools in the state. Most responses opposed any bid to reopen schools before at least the end of July.Updated: May 25, 2020 18:07 IST
Experts have suggested that Maharashtra government should not rush to reopen schools amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak after it was reported that the education department is exploring options of reopening institutions in some parts of the state from June.
Earlier, the department had sought suggestions from the stakeholders, including school owners, principals, and parents, for reopening schools in the state. Most responses opposed any bid to reopen schools before at least the end of July. “Red zone areas have the maximum risk. Even, green zones have some risk because of the movement of people between the zones, from where Covid-19 positive cases are being reported. Reopening of schools may put the lives of lakhs of students at high risk. Schools must be reopened as late as possible,” said the head of a Mumbai-based school chain.
On Saturday, state education minister Varsha Gaikwad spoke to a set of experts and senior officers in the education department. “Almost all stakeholders agreed that classes must not begin for primary students until at least the end of July. Some suggested extending the guidelines for students till Class VIII. Schools, located in orange and green zones, can start classes for only IX and X students,” said an expert, who was present at the meeting.
Parents said that the department should continue with online teaching until the pandemic threat is eliminated. “There’s no point in rushing at this point in time, as there’s an immense risk involved. Parents won’t send their children to schools in such a situation even if they reopen,” said Anubha Sahai, a lawyer, and the president of India Wide Parents Association.
Anil Bornare, coordinator, BJP Teachers Cell, said in cities like Mumbai, where many schools are located in densely populated areas, it is tough to follow social distancing norms. “The delay in reopening the schools is acceptable, but not at the cost of high risk involved,” he said.