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Maharashtra Govt Makes a U-Turn on Reopening of Schools

On 10 August, the state had announced that schools would be opened from 17 August.

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The Maharashtra government has put on hold its decision to reopen schools after the state's COVID task force opposed the move, NDTV reported.

On 10 August, the state had announced that schools would be re-opened from 17 August. The government had also taken a resolution to this effect and SOPs were formed to reopen schools for Classes 5 to 12 in rural areas and Class 8 to 12 in urban areas.

However, later on Tuesday, the decision was deferred by the state's Cabinet after the task force expressed concerns over the safety of children as those below the age of 18 were not yet vaccinated against COVID.

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In addition, one of the members of task force told NDTV that the state is yet to arrange infrastructure required to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols, like equipments for checking temperatures, soaps, and sanitisers at schools. Besides, school staff have also not been trained yet, he said.

Ruling out that there are any differences in opinion between the task force and the government, the state Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad reportedly said that a decision would be taken regarding the opening of schools after consultation with all stake holders.

The minister further said that the state intends to open schools as soon as possible at areas that have relatively low COVID infections, as cases of child labour, child marriages, and school dropouts were rampantly increasing. And children especially those at rural areas were affected because of the digital divide.

Citing a survey done by State Council of Educational Research she also said that 81 percent of parents want the schools to reopen. Physical classes have already started for Classes 8 to 12 at villages that are free of COVID, she added.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 6,388 new coronavirus cases, and 208 deaths on Thursday, 12 August.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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