The second week of June is generally the time when schools reopen after a summer break in Maharashtra. Continuing the pattern, in a recent declaration, Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has indicated that schools will become operational from June 15 in a phase-wise manner. The schools in non-red areas are expected to open first.
Speaking about the reopening of the schools, the minister mentioned that classes will be conducted in shifts and school hours will be shortened. Morning assemblies and sports will be banned for the time being.
“Maintaining social distance is the key. The option of pairing students with odd roll numbers and calling them in the first shift and the ones with even roll numbers in the second shift is being considered. Another option is to call a batch of class students every alternate day,” she said. “At all cost, the physical distance will have to be maintained. Only one student will be permitted on one desk,” she added
The government is currently working on formulating standard operating procedures to make the reopening of school hassle-free and reduce the risk of infection spreading among the teachers and students.
According to the norm, schools in Maharashtra are required to teach for 48 hours in a week, but the minister has indicated that the number of teaching hours will come down significantly with her department planning to reduce school timing by half, to begin with.
Maharashtra is at the epicentre of India’s coronavirus infection. The state has been consistently recorded high numbers of COVID-19 positive cases every day and the total number of cases in the state is more than 44,582.
Currently, in the fourth phase of the lockdown, the government of Maharashtra on May 22 identified Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur and 15 other districts as 'red-zones'. While the rest of the districts were categorized as 'non-red zones'.
The non-red zone cites have seen major relaxations during lockdown 4.0, but the red zones remain to stay under strict lockdown until May 31.