Coronavirus | Schools in Mumbai to remain closed till December 31: BMC

Local authorities to decide on reopening schools in other areas of Maharashtra, says School Education Minister

November 20, 2020 03:16 pm | Updated 09:18 pm IST - Mumbai

A worker sanitizes St. Teresa's high school premises at Charni Road in South Mumbai on Thursday.

A worker sanitizes St. Teresa's high school premises at Charni Road in South Mumbai on Thursday.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Friday announced that schools in the city will remain closed till December 31, a change from the earlier decision to reopen them from November 23, as the metropolis witnesses an upward trend in COVID-19 cases.

Schools in Maharashtra, which are shut since March due to the coronavirus outbreak, were set to reopen for Classes 9 to 12 from November 23, post Diwali-holidays.

“COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the city. Some schools were used as testing and quarantine facilities amid the pandemic. To prevent further spread of the infection, we have decided to keep schools closed till December 31,” Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said.

Also read | No let up in COVID-19 tests, second wave likely in January-February: Maharashtra government

After recording 409 new coronavirus cases on November 16, the lowest daily count since April, the city registered 541, 871 and 924 fresh infections on November 17, 18 and 19, respectively.

However, schools in other cities of Maharashtra can reopen as per schedule taking into account local conditions and the prevailing pandemic situation, an official said. “Schools in other parts of the State can be reopened from November 23 if local conditions are favourable,” said the senior official from the school education department.

If there are no cases or very few infections, then local authorities such as municipal commissioners or district collectors are empowered to reopen schools, he added.

Local authorities to decide on reopening schools in State: School Education Minister

The local authorities in Maharashtra will take a decision on reopening schools in their respective areas after assessing the coronavirus situation there, State School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Friday.

The Maharashtra government had earlier announced that classes 9 to 12 of schools in the State will reopen from November 23, the Minister told reporters.

“However, local officials, such as municipal commissioner, district collector, block development officer in Zilla Parishads and education officer, will have to discuss the situation in their respective areas and reopen the schools accordingly,” Ms. Gaikwad said.

“They are expected to consider the current coronavirus situation and the health of the students as well as the teaching staff,” she said.

“Even if the schools do not reopen, the students can still attend the online classes and learn. I have given necessary instructions to the officials concerned,” the Minister added.

Schools in the State have remained shut for nearly eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and classes are being conducted online.

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