Mumbai schools could reopen post-Diwali

While the State Task Force has given a go ahead for starting the process of reopening schools in a phased manner, it was decided at a paediatric task force meeting held recently that local corporations will take the final call on whether to restart in-person classes in the schools in their areas. Sources told mid-day that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was looking at reopening schools in Mumbai post the Diwali break.
As per the paediatric task force recommendations, a school also needs to have a medical unit. A member of the paediatric task force said that while they have given the recommendations, it would be the local corporation’s decision whether to reopen schools in their area or continue with virtual learning. “Some parts of Maharashtra still have a high number of cases and test positivity rate. Depending on the number of cases and TPR, the corporations can decide whether to resume in-person classes,” said the member.

Meanwhile, BMC’s education department said it has already started working on a plan for the safe return of students. “We are looking at the possibility of reopening schools post the Diwali break. However, the commissioner will take the final decision. It depends on the Covid-19 numbers after Diwali,” shared a senior official from the education department. The official further said that schools would need to have committees to ensure Covid protocols are followed, cleanliness and hygiene are maintained and shifts are planned to ensure social distancing.

BMC’s education department says it has already started working on a plan for the safe return of students. Representation pic
BMC’s education department says it has already started working on a plan for the safe return of students. Representation pic

Dr Bakul Parekh, paediatrician and member of the paediatric task force, said they would take into consideration the Covid situation over the next couple of days to take a final call. “In the next 10-14 days, we will know whether there is any rise in Covid-19 cases. This will also facilitate the re-opening of schools,” he said. “A local committee should ideally have a doctor on-board, and its responsibility is to talk to parents and take them into confidence and supervise the implementation of the guidelines,” added Dr Parekh.

Civic chief to take final call

When contacted, BMC education officer Raju Tadvi said, “The commissioner will take the final decision with the task force’s recommendation. We are also collating data related to vaccination of teachers, especially of those from the secondary sections, as higher classes will be reopened in the first phase. The department is also preparing a plan for safe reopening, which will be given to all schools in the city, irrespective of which board they are affiliated to.”

Even though the civic body is yet to take the final call, schools have already started preparations to welcome students back. “Although we are doing the best possible through online classes, school is so much more than academics alone. To ensure that children can resume all activities, we are working on sanitization and housekeeping facilities. We do have an idea of what the government expects from schools when they finally reopen,” shared Prachi Randive, principal of Shishuvan School.

Adding to this, Kalpana Dwivedi, principal of Bal Bharati Public School, said, “If the authorities give us a go-ahead, we are ready to re-open. In fact, CBSE has already started collating data of vaccination units in schools for teaching and non-teaching staff. We are also urging parents to get fully vaccinated.”


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