COVID-19: 'Are Mumbai schools reopening in July?' ask worried parents

Updated: Jun 24, 2020, 07:56 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Teachers and parents worried over lack of clarity; state education commissioner says SOPs to be out soon

Children at a school in Sion before the lockdown. Parents are unsure about sending kids to school when they reopen in July. Pic/Ashish Raje
Children at a school in Sion before the lockdown. Parents are unsure about sending kids to school when they reopen in July. Pic/Ashish Raje

Are schools in Mumbai's — a COVID-19 Red Zone — re-opening in July?' ask lakhs of parents who are worried not only about their children's academic year but also their health as cases of novel Coronavirus climb rapidly in the city.

The state government had last week declared the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) digital learning and physical reopening of schools in non-Red Zones of Maharashtra, but remains mum on the plans to resume classes for students in the city.

The SOPs to regulate digital learning and school re-opening mentioned a step-by-step process that is to be followed when classes start in July. The state education department had said that a separate SOP would be declared for Red Zones to avoid any health crisis, but there has been no update so far.

Vishal Solanki, Maharashtra education commissioner
Vishal Solanki, Maharashtra education commissioner

As July fast approaches, city schools have started calling teachers to work for administrative work. But. both the teachers and parents remain confused as they don't yet know if the city students, too, can return to school.

"In the absence of separate SOPs for the schools in Red Zones, many are bound to adhere to the ones released last week, wherein re-opening plans are expected to start from July. But, just yesterday, the state government's higher education minister announced that all entrance examinations scheduled to be held by the CET Cell in July have been postponed until further notice. If this is the case, then there's absolutely no chance that schools in the city should re-open," said Rajiv Shah, a concerned parent from Thane.

He added that he is in no mood to send his son to school now, but a clearer picture would help parents take an informed decision.

A teacher from a Sion school told mid-day, "We, the staff members, are called to school almost daily for administrative work of admissions, and some of us even take digital classes from school." "Also, we are not covered under essential duties, so travelling to school becomes difficult as many come from far off places. Parents are confused, too, and think that children might be called to schools as per the first SOP."

The teacher added that though the SOP clearly mentions about schools reopening in Green Zones, the confusion grew when schools started calling teachers.

Maharashtra Commissioner of Education Vishal Solanki said the separate SOPs for the Red Zone schools will be declared soon. "It is ready and under process at Mantralaya."

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