Mumbai: As the new school year started on Monday in Maharashtra, the state government announced that there won’t be any online or digital classes for pre-primary and classes 1 and 2 students.
The state school education department, in a list of guidelines issued on Monday, also capped the duration of online sessions for higher classes – one hour for classes 3 to 5, two hours for classes 6 to 8 and three hours for classes 9 to 12. In addition to digital platforms, the government has also proposed using television and radio for teaching and learning.
“We have considered the opinion of parents about online classes. As classes 1 and 2 students are young, this option won’t be made available to them,” read a statement from the Chief Minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray’s office.
On Monday, the CM held a meeting along with school education minister Varsha Gaikwad and various officials to discuss the reopening of schools in the state.
The government also plans to start physical classes in the schools located in the rural areas as well as the areas away from the city where no COVD-19 case had been found in at least a month. The schools will be reopened in these areas in a phased manner with classes 9,10 and 12 starting in July, classes 6 to 8 in August and classes 3 to 5 in September.
The School Management Committees (SMC) have been directed to decide about reopening classes 1 and 2, while class 11 will start according to the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination results.
However, the government has also issued several guidelines to ensure the health safety of students while reopening the schools. The district administration and local self-governing bodies have been asked to wash and sanitise the entire school buildings. In order to maintain social distancing, the government’s circular directs, the classes are to be run in two shifts or on alternate days, only one student be seated on a bench or a meter’s distance be maintained between two students.