Maharashtra records 4,342 fresh Covid cases; state mulls reopening of schools
Maharashtra recorded 4,342 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing the count to 6,473,674 on Thursday. The tally of active cases fell to 50,607 as 4,755 recoveries were reported in the past 24 hours. The state also saw 55 Covid casualties, taking the toll to 137,551. Ahmednagar reported the highest toll with 14 deaths. It was followed by Satara with nine fatalities.
While there are predictions that the third wave of the pandemic is likely to hit the state this month, the steady rate of daily infections has become a cause for concern for officials. Maharashtra still has over 50,000 active cases and they are hovering between 50,000 and 51,000 for the past week. On August 24, the tally of active cases was 49,752.
Meanwhile, the paediatric task force has discussed with the state school education department officials on reopening schools in the state. They want to ensure that schools are prepared and physical classes will not lead to a spike in cases.
Bachchu Kadu, minister of state for school education, said the decision on reopening schools would be taken in the next two days. “A meeting in this regard will be held in the next few days. Like other states, schools should be started here as well. But the decision will have to be taken carefully considering the fact that Maharashtra has the highest number of active cases after Kerala,” Kadu said.
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Dr Bakul Parekh, a member of the paediatric task force, said, “We also want the schools to be reopened, but with certain precautions as we are concerned about children’s health. Children are definitely suffering from mental health issues and nutrition and thus schools should be reopened, but in a safe environment. To ensure the same, we have recommended that teaching and non-teaching staff of schools should be vaccinated; there must be proper seating arrangements in the class and one bench should be reserved for one student only.
“Schools should divide students in two batches and they should be called for physical classes on alternate days. For example, half the students can be called today and the rest tomorrow and at the same time online classes can also be continued. Sports activities which require close contact should be avoided. Schools can also be started in a staggered manner by allowing some classes now and increasing them later based on the situation and if in case any rise is observed they can be stopped immediately,” he said.
Most importantly, classes should be sanitised and there must be a monitoring system in place in all the schools. The school staff should also be trained to deal in case of a medical emergency, added Dr Parekh.