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Schools to remain shut in Pune till December 13

PUNE Following sharp reactions from parents and teachers, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has now rolled back its earlier decision to restart schools from November 23 and has now decided to defer it till December 13. The civic administration will review the situation and decide whether to open the campuses or not.

The decision to hold reopening of the civic-run and private schools till December 13 was taken during a meeting on Saturday, the outcome of which was convened by mayor Murlidhar Mohol.

PMC had earlier issued guidelines to start schools but has now revised the order for the same.

“The civic body has now decided to revise its earlier decisions. PMC has issued fresh order on Saturday stating that civic-run, as well as private schools, will not open till December 13 when the administration will review the situation and decide whether to open the campuses or not. Pune is seeing a rise in cases and so it seems only logical to postpone the opening of schools,” said Mohol.

He added that the decision was taken keeping in mind the health of the children. Earlier the civic body in its circular has stated that prior to the opening of schools, the teachers must be tested for Covid-19 and parents should give written consent for their respective kids to attend school.

He said, “We got a very poor response from the parents and not even five per cent of the parents submitted the written response. Therefore we have decided to postpone the reopening of schools.”

The decision was welcomed by many parents and other stakeholders. Manoj Deshpande, a city resident, said during the survey he conducted on parents readiness, 52 per cent said they were not sure about the decision. “We conducted a survey on parents readiness and 52% responded ‘not sure’ and 41% as ‘no’. The sample was 9th and 10th grades (123 size),” tweeted Deshpande.

Meanwhile, schools from rural parts of Pune district will reopen on Monday as decided earlier. Ayush Prasad, Pune Zilla Parishad CEO, said the spread of the virus is very limited in rural parts. “We have conducted a test of teachers in which only two were found positive. Since the cases in rural parts are very limited, schools will reopen from November 23, as scheduled earlier,” said Prasad.

Earlier on Monday, many had criticised civic administration’s haste to reopen schools from Monday.

“Medical experts say that despite the corona, a large number of people do not have symptoms. In such a situation, how to constantly check the children or teachers? The big question can arise if the teacher is tested corona positive. If 50 per cent of the children are present, how will the parents plan transportation? How can we ensure that children keep a safe distance during 50 per cent attendance? Does the consent of the parents end the responsibility of the schools? The government has not given satisfactory answers to all these issues,” Mukund Kirdat, coordinator, Pune Parents United had said.

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