Maharashtra Minister of School Education and Congress leader Varsha Gaikwad had recommended reopening physical classes in Covid-free zones from July 12. As schools opened for classes 8-12, as many as 613 students have tested positive for Covid-19 in Maharashtra’s Solapur.
This has also raised concerns over the plausible lack of adherence to Covid-19 protocols for the safe opening of schools and colleges.
Early this month, Gaikwad while announcing the reopening of schools had said, “It has become a need of the hour to have a co-educational approach to reach out to the children of the last strata of the state.”
राज्यातील शेवटच्या घटकातील मुलांपर्यंत शिक्षण पोहोचवण्यासाठी मिश्रित शिक्षणाचा दृष्टिकोन बाळगणे ही काळाची गरज बनली आहे.ही बाब लक्षात घेऊन दूरस्थ शिक्षण आणि ऑनलाईन शिक्षणाला चालना देण्यासोबतच कोरोनामुक्त ग्रामीण भागांत कोरोना प्रतिबंधकतेची संपूर्ण खबरदारी घेऊन शाळा सुरु करीत आहोत. pic.twitter.com/LJLNfykOVE— Varsha Gaikwad (@VarshaEGaikwad) July 7, 2021
The Minister had also mandated all teachers and staff members to be vaccinated before resuming physical classes to limit the spread of infection.
“Prior to the commencement of school, corona vaccination of all teachers and non-teaching staff in the respective schools should be done as a matter of priority,” she had Tweeted.
शाळा सुरु होण्यापूर्वी संबंधित शाळांतील सर्व शिक्षक व शिक्षकेतर कर्मचाऱ्यांचे कोरोना लसीकरण प्राधान्यक्रमाने करून घ्यावे.@scertmaha#BackToSchool #चला_मुलांनो_शाळेत_चला #SafeSchools #Education #Health #SOPs #Children pic.twitter.com/RCOBHdpMF9— Varsha Gaikwad (@VarshaEGaikwad) July 7, 2021
However, considering the spike in cases among children, whether or not enough precautions were taken before the resumption of physical classes is unknown.
The state being one of the most affected by the first as well as the second wave of the pandemic made it impossible for the schools to reopen. Schools in Maharashtra have been shut since March 2020.
Covid-19 cases on a rise
Maharashtra, which was the first to be hit by the second wave of the Chinese virus continues to record more than 6000 new cases. The state on Thursday recorded 7242 new Covid-19 cases and 190 fatalities, a slight jump from Wednesday.
Districts like Pune, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur remain the top contributors to the caseload.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has relaxed curbs in 25 districts allowing shops, theaters, eateries and gyms to function.