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While Maharashtra school are directed to teach 48 hours in a week, Varsha Gaikwad, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister, indicated that the number of hours will significantly decrease as her department is scheduling to shorten the school timings initially.

The epicenter of coronavirus, Maharashtra, is planning to reopen its affiliated schools from 15 June onwards. 

State’s School Education Minister, Varsha Gaikwad asserted that the return of school would be done gradually step by step. The school would be open phase to phase starting from non-red zones. 

In the fourth stage of lockdown, Maharashtra has recognized municipal corporation areas its cities namely Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, and other 15 areas under the red zone. 

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From 22 May, many areas have been reported the curb of the virus which indicates that many cities have fallen under the category of non-red zones.

In an interview, the Education Minister shared the plan for the conduction of school classes in shifts, diminishing the school hours, prohibition on the morning assembly, and sports activities. Maintaining ones with even roll numbers in the next shift is being contemplated. Another possibility is to call a lot of class students every alternate day,” she told. “At all cost physical length will have to be maintained. Only one student will be allowed on one desk,” she added.

As stretched school closure will greatly have a negative impact on school studies, Gaikwad told that government was developing a fresh Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for schools to lessen the risk of infection to students and teachers, once they return to schools.

But in the case of Mumbai and other red zone areas, the government said “things needed to improve further before they intend reopening of schools.” Gaikwad, said that schools in Mumbai may have to wait for a longer period of time as the cases have increased in the city promptly. She said during these times when schools are closed, teachers are doing reasonable attempts to ensure that the students do not miss out on their classes and their learning is not suspended. She further said that while e-learning has proven to be beneficial, it cannot replace classroom experience as some students may find it tough to comprehend online classes.

She said schools the cities had opted for e-teaching. “Our bigger responsibility at the moment is the continuity of education of poor children from rural and tribal areas who do not have access to a smartphone or live in areas without internet connectivity available. Classroom lessons are significant for them.

While speaking about what measures is the authority going to take for the school staff, Gaikwad said teachers who even have a mild cold, cough, or fever will be directed to take a day leave.

She also asserted that the Diwali holidays are most probably to be cut short in order to cover up for the time lost during the COVID-19 crisis.

Admitting the inevitable delay in exam paper assessment work for the state secondary and higher secondary board exams, she asserted that there are chances to announce the results of both by the third week of June.

 

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