Mandatory Covid test for Maharashtra school teachers triggers rush, inconvenience
Driven by Maharashtra government’s directive, teachers line up getting themselves tested for Covid-19, however, it is easier said than done.Updated: Nov 19, 2020, 11:12 IST
As the Maharashtra education department has made it mandatory for teachers to undergo an RT-PCR test for Covid-19 before schools reopen for classes 9 to 12 from November 23, some teachers have raised concerns about the process.
On Wednesday, some teachers shared their difficulty in getting tests done from public hospitals in different parts of the state. “At the civic hospital, where a few of us went, we were first told that tests will happen only if a doctor prescribes or if patients have any symptoms. After we insisted on a test and showed the government rule mandating the test, we were finally allowed to take one. It was a terrible experience,” said the teacher of an aided school in suburban Mumbai.
On Wednesday, the education department asked principals of schools to ensure that all the teachers are tested before school reopens. Principals said teachers were under immense pressure.
“Priority should be given to the teachers who teach English, maths and science first, as classes for those subjects will begin first after reopening. After that, other teachers can be tested,” states the circular.
Anil Bornare, president of the BJP teachers’ cell said more centres need to be made available for teachers testing without any hassle. “In some parts of the state, there are very few testing centres and relatively a high number of teachers and teaching staff that need to undergo the tests. We request the government to make additional centres available so that they can all be tested before schools reopen,” added Bornare.
On November 7, state education minister Varsha Gaikwad announced that the government would start schools for classes 9 to 12 from November 23. The decision subsequently got a clearance from the state government and a revised set of SOPs for school reopening was thus released on November 10. As per the SOPs, parents would have to sign a written consent before students attend school. Similarly, students can study from their homes with the consent of their parents.