MUMBAI: The state government is contemplating reopening schools in non-containment zones from June 15—the usual session start date—after taking proper measures to safeguard the health of students.
Following CM Uddhav Thackeray’s video conference with the education department brass on Tuesday, senior officials said a final decision on the date is yet to be taken. They are hoping for the situation to improve in the next 10 days.
Commenting on the June 15 date, education commissioner Vishal Solanki said: “It’s as per the normal calendar every year. Wherever we can’t start (physical school), we will provide distance digital education.”
Rotation of 50% students on cards?
On Sunday, Thackeray in his address to the state had said the lockdown, which ends on May 31, cannot be lifted in one go, but has to be relaxed in a staggered manner.
On Tuesday, Thackeray directed taking of steps to reopen schools—both aided and non-aided—under the state board after taking precautionary measures. He instructed the education department and school management committees to make arrangements to conduct health check-up of students, teachers and other staff once schools reopen and provide sanitisers. He also suggested that officials look at the possibility of shortening the curriculum, if needed.
The department should consider using online and digital education methods more effectively by seeking cooperation from mobile companies, distribution of tablets and memory cards to students, exploring the use of TV channels and so on. Thackeray asked the department to coordinate with the local people’s representatives on this.
Discussions have been held to explore whether 50% students of a class should attend on one day, and the other half the next day alternately to maintain social distance, or in different sessions.
The department officials said state publishing bureau Balbharati has made books available in PDF format, in which animated videos on each chapter and extra study material are available. To encourage learning from home, the state has appealed to students to use the Diksha app, on which all state board textbooks from Class I to X are available.
(With inputs from Vinamrata Borwankar)