COVID-19: Maharashtra Government to Reopen Schools From 17 August

The state announced that classes would be held in-person for students in urban and rural areas, starting 17 August.

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Maharashtra's Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad announced on Friday, 6 August, that schools in the state would reopen in both urban and rural areas on 17 August. Schools and colleges in the state have remained shut since March 2020, when the pandemic began.

News agency ANI quoted Gaikwad, who said that schools for students from classes 5 and 8 will reopen in rural areas, while in cities, schools for students from classes 8 to 12 would reopen from 17 August.

However, schools will only be opened in areas with consistently low COVID-19 infection rates and that each area would have a committee to determine whether restarting in-person classes will be possible.

Earlier on 12 July, the Maharashtra government had reopened as many as 5,947 schools for students from classes 8 to12 in rural areas where no coronavirus cases had been reported over the period of one month.

In order to ensure safety, a maximum of 15 to 20 students were allowed in a classroom at a time, with schools required to ensure and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between students. Usage of masks was compulsory and students were directed to wash their hands frequently.

On Friday, along with Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also announced reopening of schools for offline classes. Schools are set to reopen for students from classes 9 to 12 in Karnataka from 23 August, while Tamil Nadu's schools will reopen from 1 September.

As of 6 August, Maharashtra recorded over 74,000 active and 5,539 new cases, with the city of Pune contributing to the state's total with nearly 15,000 cases.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times)

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