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Schools reopen in Maharashtra amid flattening Covid curve

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Schools resumed physical sessions for classes 1 to 12 in Maharashtra on Monday and the state government expressed hope that students would enjoy being back to their classrooms in a safe atmosphere.

Last week, the Maharashtra government allowed the offline classes to resume from January 24 after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray approved a proposal to this effect that was sent to him by the school education department.

Schools across the state were closed in the first week of January due to a spike in the coronavirus cases and in the wake of the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant. However, a number of parents, activists in the field as well as teachers had strongly opposed the move to shut the schools, saying it would adversely affect the students.

In Mumbai, the local civic body had earlier announced the closure of schools for Classes 1 to 9 till January 31.

But, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) assessment later indicated that the cases of Omicron infection were not on the rise, and it had said the curve was flattening. It had prompted officials to propose the reopening of schools for physical attendance.

On Monday morning, Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad greeted students and parents on the reopening of physical classes.

“Wishing all parents and students the very best as physical classes reopen today onwards. We hope you enjoy your day back in a safe atmosphere. #BackToSchool. @scertmaha @CMOMaharashtra @msbshse,” Gaikwad tweeted.

In Mumbai also, various schools resumed offline classes in the morning.

Last week, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had said that in-person or offline classes will resume in pre-primary schools too.

While allowing the schools to resume physical classes, the state government has asked them to strictly adhere to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

On Sunday, Maharashtra reported 40,805 COVID-19 cases, taking its tally to 75,07,225, while 44 fatalities pushed the toll to 1,42,115, a health department official earlier said.

No Omicron case was detected in the state on Sunday, keeping the tally of those affected by the new variant to 2,759, of whom 1,437 have been discharged so far, the official said. PTI


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