After shutting down the Maharashtra state government for nearly 10 months, it plans to reopen schools for students in Class 5-8 starting on January 27, 2021. The decision to reopen schools for students in the upper elementary was made by the State Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad. Schools in the state have been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020 and have been closed ever since.
Maharashtra’s Minister of School Education Varsha Gaikwad announced on Twitter the decision to reopen schools for primary school students from January 27, 2021. In a tweet sent from her official account, she said: “Continuing with our plan from gradually reopening schools, today I discussed my department’s proposal to open schools from January 5 to 8 starting on January 27. She added that the decision was also supported by Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Apart from that, she assured all students and parents that “our SOPs are based on the principle of ensuring the continuity of our children’s education in the safest way possible.”
Although the state government has approved in principle the reopening of state schools and universities, the power to make a final decision in this regard rests with local authorities.
Local authorities, including district collectors, community commissioners and district surgeons, are tasked with reviewing the pandemic situation in the district, assessing the situation, and covering all risk factors prior to the reopening of hospitals schools.
Gaikwad added that important steps have been taken to reopen schools to students in Class 9-12, including evaluating all teachers and staff for RT-PCR testing. She said similar steps were being taken to reopen schools to students in Class 5-8.