Relaxation of Covid borders: schools, temples in good condition will reopen the first week of October


In a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the Maharashtra government announced on Friday that state schools and places of worship will reopen in the first week of October.

From October 4, 19 months after their closure, schools will reopen their premises for face-to-face lessons for students in grades 5 to 12 in rural areas, and grades 8 to 12 in urban areas.

The reopening will apply to public and civic schools, private schools and all boards. Residential schools will remain closed, however. Kindergartens and preschools will not reopen either.

All places of worship will be allowed to reopen from October 7, the first day of Navratri.

While announcing these relaxations, the state government also appeared to be bracing for an impending third wave. He has instructed manufacturers and fillers of liquid medical oxygen (OMT) to ensure that their storage is maintained at 95% of full capacity until September 30 and that they operate their factories at full capacity.

Schools in the state have been closed from March 2020, since the start of the pandemic, and classes are held online. Maharashtra has 19,997 secondary and higher schools in which more than 45 Lakh students study in grades 8 to 12.

School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had agreed to the reopening of schools. Gaikwad said all rural schools will resume in-person classes for 5th to 12th grade in rural areas and 8th to 12th grade in urban areas, but with all measures to ensure student safety.

The School Education Department has issued an additional standard operating procedure for reopening schools, which includes setting up school health clinics, caring for students when they come to school, absence sports activities and how to find sick students.

“Although schools will reopen, students are not required to attend physical classes and parental consent is required for students to attend physical classes. Students can be called on alternate days and physical distance must be maintained, ”Gaikwad told media.

The government earlier attempted to reopen schools, but had to abandon the plan after the state’s COVID task force retreated.

Gaikwad said the government issued SOPs in July and August for the opening of schools. “But then there was the fear of the third wave. There was a discussion in cabinet about this. The pediatric working group and education experts have made some suggestions which have now been incorporated, ”she added.

Last month, a day after the release of the detailed SOP for the reopening of schools, the state cabinet discussed the issue, which was put on hold following opposition from the Covid task force.

During the first week of September, the pediatric task force suggested SOPs to be followed when schools reopen to keep children safe and other things.

A statement from the CM office also announced that all places of worship will be open from October 7.

“After facing the second wave, we made a plan to contain the third wave. We plan to ease the restrictions gradually. Although the number of corona patients is currently decreasing, we need to be more careful. Even though religious places are open to worshipers, all public health rules must be followed, ”Thackeray said in a statement.

In recent months, the government has received representations from various circles for the opening of places of worship. He also came under a lot of pressure from the BJP, which organized protests to demand the reopening of the temples. The MVA government had closed all religious places when the second wave hit the state.

The government has also issued instructions to ensure a sufficient supply of medical oxygen during the peak period of the possible third wave.

The government issued the order as some LMO manufacturers and reloaders reported stocks were exhausted. “This was seen when the requirement for a large amount of supplies during the peak phase of the second wave, some manufacturers reported stocks of LMOs considerably depleted,” said Sitaram Kunte, chief secretary. The notification is effective today and will remain in effect until further notice.

During the second wave in April-June 2021, with a peak of 7 lakh active cases, 1,850 metric tons of LMOs were needed. The state’s oxygen production capacity is 1270 MT, including large and small producers.

The instructions issued provide that all LMOs and state fillers must ensure that their storage is maintained at 95% of full capacity by September 30, 2021 and will continue to maintain this level until further orders. “To achieve this, LMO manufacturers need to ensure that their factories are operating at full LMO production capacity,” the order said.

He further stated that district collectors should ensure that all LMO storages in the district (both public and private hospitals) are maintained at the technically possible level as much as possible. This activity can be resumed immediately. The Department of Public Health, in consultation with the Department of Medical Education and Drugs, should adjust the use of non-medical oxygen as the demand for medical oxygen begins to increase, he added.

“For the implementation of the above instructions, the competent authority at the state level will be the commissioner, the Foods and Drugs Administration, and at the district and municipal company level will be the district collectors and commissioners. municipal authorities to take appropriate action in the event of a violation of these instructions. , says the order.

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