Parents of around 60% of over 67,000 children studying in Class 8 to 10 at 781 civic-run schools of the city have given consent for sending their child to the school starting Monday for offline classes. Starting today, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given permission to reopen both private and public schools for Class 8 to 12.
According to BMC officials, 781 civic-run secondary high schools in Mumbai have 67,361 students in Class 8-10 who are eligible to attend school from Monday. A BMC official from the education department said, “The overall picture is that around 60% of the parents are ready to give their consent in writing to the school that will make their children eligible for offline classes. The written consent is at a different stage and the system is expected to streamline within the next 15 days, considering it is a soft start from Monday.”
The BMC official added, “Several parents are not ready to send their children as festivals are coming and maybe they have gone to their native place due to online classes. However, we will continue ensuring maximum students take advantage of offline classes.”
The BMC had in its SOP on Thursday told all schools that 100% attendance is not mandatory, and parents’ consent is necessary for students to attend school. The SOP details guidelines across nine parameters, including attendance, safety and Covid-19 hygiene, teaching, seating arrangements in classrooms, for school managements, teachers, students, and parents.
The BMC has mandated that school managements should link their schools with the nearest primary health centres before restarting classes, to better deal with health emergencies among students and staff.
According to BMC officials, of the total 781 secondary high schools, 21 schools will not be able to operate starting Monday. BMC education officer Raju Tadvi said, “A few of our schools have quarantine facilities and vaccination centres inside their premises. Hence, they will take time to start. These centres will be first shifted out of the schools and later there will be disinfection posts in which we will resume classes in these schools.”
Tadvi added, “The estimated number of schools starting from Monday is 760 and the estimated number of teachers and non-teaching staff is 3,600 followed by an estimated number of students to attend is 38,000.”
BMC officials are also going to railway authorities to issue passes to students travelling by local train and also have requested the BEST to allow students to travel for free as per the earlier arrangement.
Further, as schools restart, a maximum of 15-20 students will be allowed per classroom at a time. If there are more students, the school can conduct classes in two batches, by dividing students in two groups, and calling them on alternative days. Actual classrooms will operate for not more than three-four hours, and there will be no lunch breaks. Air-conditioning will not be operated in classrooms.
Meanwhile, schools have also been instructed not to give out certificates or awards for 100% attendance owing to the Covid-19 situation. On campus, masks are mandatory. All teachers attending school for teaching classes 8 to 12 need to be vaccinated with both doses or need to take an RT-PCR test 48 hours prior, and the school management is required to verify such reports with the laboratory.
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