Schools in Pune set to reopen from Monday

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Pune, Nov 20 (PTI) After nearly eight months, schools and junior colleges are set to reopen in Pune district from November 23.

Classes 9 and 10 of schools, and 11 and 12 of junior colleges will start from Monday.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said that local authorities will take a decision on reopening schools in respective areas after assessing the coronavirus situation.

The district administration and Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations issued guidelines for safey of students and teachers on Friday evening.

The district administration also asked school managements to take prior consent of parents.

'Schools will have to provide thermal scanners/guns, pulse oxymeters, hand wash soaps, and ensure that school premises and classrooms are cleaned with disinfectants,' said the guidelines.

Only one student will sit on each bench, and it is mandatory for all the teachers and non-teaching staff to undergo COVID-19 test.

Dr Milind Naik, Principal, Jnana Prabodhini Prashala said that all safety protocols are being followed before the school reopens.

'There will be a total of 160 students of class 9 and class 10 and they will be coming to school only for practicals and co-curricular activities between 4 and 5.30 pm,' he said.

Curriculum activities will continue online as earlier.

'All our teachers have undergone COVID-19 tests and all results are negative,' said Naik.

But some schools are not going to reopen on Monday.

'Though we are prepared to implement international- standard safety measures, we will not be starting classes on November 23. We first need to overrule the possibility of any spike in infections in the city post-Diwali,' said Praneet Mungali, a trustee at Sanskriti Group of Schools.

'We will have a detailed dialogue with all stakeholders including our students, parents to determine the next course of action by consensus,' he said.

Prasad Joshi, a parent, is cautious about sending his daughter, who is in the 9th standard, to school.

'I have got a consent form from the school. They have sought my consent to send the ward to school. But the school should take parents into confidence and inform what measures they have taken for the safety of students,' he said.

Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh said there are over 18,000 teachers of class 9 to 12 in the district.

'So far over 3,000 teachers have undergone COVID-19 tests,' he said. PTI SPK KRK KRK