Why should teachers be in school when there are no students?: Mumbai School Principals' Association spokesman
Teachers confused by school education department's circular on new rules, say state has simply copied Centre's guidelines blindly
Teaching and non-teaching staff of schools will now have to maintain 50 per cent physical attendance at work. The school education department of the Maharashtra government has issued guidelines for the same, leading to more confusion among the teaching fraternity. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) released by the government on Thursday for schools detail all the points from maintaining social distancing, daily sanitisation of the premises, hand-washing and wearing masks at all times, to ensuring professional assistance for mental well-being of staff as well as students. But it skips important aspects such as when does school attendance start, how to maintain records, will there be any action, etc.
Not much clarity
"The department seems to have just copied guidelines issued by the central government regarding the reopening of the schools. But there is no thought put into the specifications at all. It begins from the first line of the circular where it mentions that until October 31 schools will remain closed for students. After that there is a huge list of SOPs but no other timeline such as when will all this be applicable. Does it mean after October 31 even students are going to come to school? In case of areas such as Mumbai and Pune where the infection rate is still high and no proper mode of traveling is available to all; should there be any exemption? When it comes to government schools, who will bear the cost of the infrastructural changes instructed in the SOP?" said Prashant Redij, spokesperson for the Mumbai School Principals' Association. The association has decided to continue as is in the current situation, and to wait for properly designed guidelines with specifications for clarity before beginning to implement any of them.
'Just creating confusion'
When it comes to teaching, the circular does mention that it should continue in whichever way possible – online or offline. This too has led to major confusion with many teachers questioning the importance of being present in the school when online teaching is anyway on. "This circular is nothing but a way of creating confusion.
The state government had already declared that there will be no decision regarding reopening of schools until after the Diwali vacation which is soon approaching. Then what was the purpose of this untimely circular? More so, when there are no students in school and online or telephonic teaching is anyway on wherever possible, why is this sudden need of asking 50 per cent physical attendance in school by staff?" questioned Rajesh Pandya, from the Teacher Democratic Front.
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