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BMC says no rise in Covid-19 cases; state could reopen schools for all ages

Updated on: 22 November,2021 07:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Pallavi Smart , Prajakta Kasale | ,

Civic body submits report to state government to show how there is no remarkable rise in cases even after Diwali; anticipates nod for all classes to start

BMC says no rise in Covid-19 cases; state could reopen schools for all ages

Primary students attend a class at Babasaheb Deshpande School at Sion in 2020. Pic/Ashish Raje

Students of Std VII and the younger classes could soon return to school. As the festivities had a low effect on COVID-19, the BMC sent a report to the state, saying the situation is under control. This has led to anticipations of reopening of schools for the primary section, which was expected post-Diwali. However, the MVA government will take the final call. The schools had resumed in-person classes for students of Std VIII-Std XII in October this year, and the decision for the rest of the students were to be take post the festivities, as a third wave was feared. 

After schools in the city reopened for Std VIII-Std XIII last month, the demand to also allow the rest of the students back on campus grew louder. However, the decisions were put on hold, as there was a fear of a surge in COVID-19 cases after festivities.

Students in face masks on a school bus, at Bandra, in March 2020. Pic/Pradeep DhivarStudents in face masks on a school bus, at Bandra, in March 2020. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Considering that the BMC has submitted a report about how there is no increase in the number of patients even after festivities, when the city witnessed massive crowds for shopping, and reopening of colleges and other establishments as well; talks have begun about possible reopening of schools for the primary section. Parents have also demanded that schools be reopened fully now.

“While in rural areas schools are open for Std V and above, in Mumbai and other urban areas offline classes started for Std VIII and above. Phase-wise extension to lower classes was on the cards post-Diwali, depending on the COVID-19 situation. The BMC’s report on it tells that there is no rise in the number of COVID-19 patients and that the situation is under control. This suggests that reopening of schools for younger classes may soon be decided by the state government based on this report,” said a source from the civic body. “We have shared the information about the current situation in Mumbai,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, but he refused to comment on reopening of schools for lower classes.

Students arrive at Delhi Public School, Nerul, on the first day of partial reopening, on October 4 this year. Pic/Sayyed Sameer AbediStudents arrive at Delhi Public School, Nerul, on the first day of partial reopening, on October 4 this year. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Meanwhile, there is a growing demand for reopening of schools for all classes across the state. Recently, parents from Mumbai sent an open letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, demanding to reopen schools for all classes. Even as the city awaits a decision from the state government, schools, teachers and parents all seem to be on the same page on reopening of schools, as they have demanded an affirmative pronouncement soon.

‘We waited, now reopen’

“We all waited until after Diwali, as the state had said it would take a decision on resuming physical classes for the primary section post-festivities. Now that the conditions are favourable, we do not see any reason to delay it further. The government should work on planning toward reopening and give schools and parents enough time to prepare for it,” said Gayatri Sabharwal, a parent from South Mumbai.

Sabharwal is part of the group of parents from the city which has written the open letter to the CM.

Radhika Godhane, another parent from Dahisar, said, “It has been stated multiple times that COVID-19 is a mild infection for children, as they have good immunity. To save children from something that is not dangerous to them, we are depriving them of regular growth opportunities in formative years of their life. I hope that after this report, the government provides some clarity on the plan of reopening of schools for younger classes.”

Parents and schools demand clarity as in the current situation, there is confusion with contradictory statements by different authorities. Senior expert educationist Vasant Kalpande said, “Parents and schools both are ready for reopening. But unless there is clarity on how the reopening will proceed; they cannot prepare for it. It is high time that the government takes a decision on it, as anyway a lot of time has passed and this is a very important decision.”

The principal of a civic school, requesting anonymity, said, “Many parents are constantly asking about when the schools are going to reopen. With almost everything reopening and parents going out for work, they fear their children are wasting time at home. Many children that we cater to are victims of digital divide and so they are facing tremendous academic loss.”

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