Maharashtra: As D-Day looms, one school in each ward turns testing centre

Updated: 20 November, 2020 07:11 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Move comes after teaching and non-teaching staff struggled to get their mandatory RT-PCR test; but is this one pre-joining test enough, ask teachers who are worried about getting infected after schools open

Teachers at G H High School in Borivli on Thursday. Pic/Satej Shinde
Teachers at G H High School in Borivli on Thursday. Pic/Satej Shinde

Ahead of the November 23 reopening of schools, one in every ward has turned into a COVID testing facility as RT-PCR tests are mandatory for teachers and non-teaching staff. Teachers were queuing up at such schools on Thursday. The process has been streamlined only now with schools being turned into COVID test centres for three days.

Civic staff sanitise a BMC-run school in Mumbai Central. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Civic staff sanitise a BMC-run school in Mumbai Central. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Although parents have the choice to consider their options and say no for sending their kids to school, teachers have no choice but to resume going to school.

Sharayu Mane, teacher, Chogle High School, Borivli
Sharayu Mane, teacher, Chogle High School, Borivli

The state government had initially asked staffers to get tested between November 17 and 22. Soon after this, local administrations were asked to make tests available for teachers for free. However, the process was chaotic as teachers were confused over where to get tested and were vary about going to civic test centres.

Teachers and other school staffers are happy with the exclusive testing centres. Pics/Satej Shinde
Teachers and other school staffers are happy with the exclusive testing centres. Pics/Satej Shinde

"We are glad that the education department stepped in and test arrangements were made at schools. I am more comfortable about coming here for a test as I know other teachers, am confident of social distancing as there won't be huge crowds and more importantly, this is easily accessible," Anil Kumar Sharma, supervisor of Raj High School in Kandivli, who visited G H High School in Borivli for a COVID-19 test along with his school staff.

Chetna Oza, (centre) principal, of G H High School said the testing process at her school was going on smoothly
Chetna Oza, (centre) principal, of G H High School said the testing process at her school was going on smoothly

Shivraj Kendre, a non-teaching staff from another school at the Borivli centre, said, "I was home until now as there was no clarity on where I needed to go for the test. Some of my friends went to BMC health centres but did not have a good experience. I decided to wait and watch and on Wednesday night, we were given the ward-wise list of schools for tests."

Also Read: Mumbai: Want academic year, but we don't want to send kids to school, says parents

Anil Kumar Sharma, supervisor, Raj High School, Kandivli
Anil Kumar Sharma, supervisor, Raj High School, Kandivli

Teaching and non-teaching staff have to report to test centres between November 19 and 21. Tests will be done based on Aadhaar card and a school identity card. 

Shivraj Kendre, non-teaching staff
Shivraj Kendre, non-teaching staff

"Our school is a COVID test facility. Our staff members and those from schools in our ward have been coming for tests. Our staff is assisting the education department to conduct the tests. The process is going smoothly," said Chetna Oza, principal, G H High School, where on Day 1, 200 tests
were conducted.

Is one test enough?

While teachers are happy with the exclusive service, there are concerns if just one test before starting is enough. Sharayu Mane, a teacher from Chogale High School, said, "We will be confident at the time of joining school. But how can we be certain that we'll remain uninfected in the future? We have seen that wherever schools resumed, infections increased too as people from different areas come to one place. Moreover, teachers will also be travelling to reach school. Instead of doing the test just this once, I feel it should be done periodically as schools re-open."

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First Published: 20 November, 2020 07:02 IST

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