Expert consultations still continue with respect to the reopening of schools in Maharashtra, education minister Varsha Gaikwad has said. She said that a change in SOPs is likely to take place soon. Thereafter, training programmes will be held for school staffers for the implementation of modified SOPs. But she refused to give any timeline for the reopening of schools in the State. “That will be decided by the Chief Minister,” she said.
“Depending on the suggestions of the paediatric task force, SOPs are likely to be modified. We have already had one meeting with them. We have taken in their suggestions. We are slated to have another meeting. Thereafter, the proposal will be sent to the Chief Minister. Our priority is the health and well-being of our children,” Varsha Gaikwad told CNN News18.
She said that the panel has suggested that more responsibility should be given to parents with respect to protocols to be followed against Covid. But the discussion will continue.
Maharashtra school department will hold another key consultation with the pediatric task force. Thereafter, new SOPs are likely to be drawn.
Maharashtra is one of the worst affected States with respect to Covid. Even children have been infected since the first wave. Till now, almost 65,000 Covid cases have been reported among children from the beginning of the pandemic.
Maharashtra had experimented with reopening of schools for secondary classes, in the lull after the first wave. But they were shut after cases in the State had started climbing up. Now, after the second wave, the State government continues to take a wary approach with respect to the reopening of schools.
Schools have reopened in parts of the country. But parents are still apprehensive about sending their little ones to school.
Experts have said that the situation with respect to covid cases among children is under control in Maharashtra. Almost 10 to 12 per cent of the total infections are seen among children. But the symptoms are mild. And in the majority of cases, children don’t need hospitalisation.