Lunch breaks, buses, outdoor games: Mumbai schools will resume “normal operation” from March 2

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All schools in Mumbai will resume normal operations, returning to pre-Covid schedules and 100% offline learning at full capacity, from March 2. While online classes will come to a complete halt, recess, extracurricular activities and even school buses will be permitted, according to a notification issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) education department late Friday evening.

The new guidelines will apply to all schools, regardless of which board they are affiliated with, and to all grades – from pre-primary to class XII, under the new guidelines. Even schools with children with special needs will be required to follow the new guidelines.

The decision was made considering the current Covid situation in the city where infection cases are rapidly decreasing.

Following a meeting in this regard on Friday, Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra’s Minister of Tourism and Environment and Custodian Minister of Mumbai Suburbs, tweeted: “This afternoon I held a meeting to that schools in Mumbai resume from March, with pre-Covid timings, attendance, curricular and extra-curricular activities, school buses, apart from some essential standards appropriate to covid, as cases are steadily declining in Mumbai.

Shortly after, BMC’s education department released the guidelines.

“As schools return to conventional operation; all students will need to register offline. Only children with comorbidities or chronic illnesses certified by medical professionals will be given the opportunity to obtain parental consent for offline attendance,” the guidelines state. Children should also be encouraged to participate in sports, outdoor games and other extracurricular activities, the BMC said. Although it will be mandatory for students to wear a face mask in classrooms, school buses and school premises in general, it will not be mandatory during sports activities, physical education periods or outdoor games, as directed.

As explained in the guidelines signed by BMC education officials – Rajesh Kankal for primary and Raju Tadvi for secondary – all teaching and non-teaching staff must be fully vaccinated, while vaccination of students in groups of age eligible should be encouraged at the school level, with consent. parents. The civic body said it wanted to organize vaccination campaigns in association with schools.

As schools return to regular hours, recess will also resume and students will be allowed to eat in classrooms, as directed. Children will be allowed to travel on private buses as well as BEST buses for schools. Parents are advised to be on the safe side and not send their wards to schools if they have Covid-related symptoms such as a cold, cough or fever, the guidelines added.

With the number of Covid cases declining for some time now, there has been a growing demand from parents and school authorities to resume schools at full capacity, just like in the pre-Covid era. The BMC Education department had prepared a plan in this regard, which was awaiting approval.

After being closed for offline operation for more than a year, the city school had started to reopen from October 2021 in phases – starting from the upper grades (Class VIII to XII). However, several restrictions have been put in place, including limited hours, no eating breaks at school, no extracurricular activities, and classes delivered in batches to ensure physical distancing. In December, the remaining classes (classes I to VII) were also reopened for offline operation. But schools have had to close their physical operations again, following the rise in Omicron cases. After a short break, the school resumed offline activities for all grades, including pre-primary sections, on January 24. However, Covid restrictions continued.

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