Primary school students in Maharashtra can go back to physical classes from December 1, the state government has announced.
Primary schools in the state have been shut since March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After the decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting. Varsha Gaikwad, minister of education, said it has been decided to re-open schools from Class 1 to 4 in rural areas and Class 1 to 7 in urban areas from December 1. Strict Covid protocol will be followed with the reopening.
The decision was taken after consultation with the Chief Minister, the cabinet and approval from the paediatrics Covid task force.
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday had made a strong pitch for vaccinating children between 12-18 years of age on priority, and reopening schools for Class 1 to 4 by adhering to Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Two days ago, a group of parents from Mumbai had also written to the state government to reopen schools for all children above two years of age, as the state and the city have recorded a steady drop in daily Covid-19 cases in the weeks after Diwali. In an open letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the parents highlighted problems related to online learning and the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of the children.
Schools across the state had resumed offline classes for students of classes 8 to 12 on October 4 this year.