The Maharashtra government is likely to hold a review meeting on reopening schools today. After the state health department gave a nod to the reopening of the schools for younger kids, the decision is likely to come after discussion with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The proposal of the resumption of offline classes has been sent to the CM office.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told CNN News18 that reopening can begin within a fortnight. While there is no objection from the health department but it has been suggested that “students belonging to the age group of 12 to 18 should get vaccinated“.
Stressing the need to vaccinate the children, he added that several countries are now vaccinating children between 12 to 18 years of age. “It isn’t really about the infection in younger children. We have seen that hardly any serious cases have been reported from children. But they may end up infecting their grandparents, their comorbid family members. And that is why we have to be careful,” he added.
Parents seek schools reopening
The development comes after several parents come together seeking to reopen of physical schools with the number of Covid cases coming down. Parents’ groups say that children are being allowed on playgrounds, in malls, in other public places, and should be allowed to attend schools too.
Recently, around 2,400 parents from the state signed a petition demanding reopening of schools. The parents’ group also wrote an open letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, highlighting problems related to online learning and the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of the children.
“Sir, our children have fallen behind in learning due to online schooling. They are not retaining information, finding it difficult to focus and are suffering acutely. It is affecting their mental health. Depression and anxiety are on the rise. Children in their formative years are barely reading, and their math skills have fallen behind,” read the letter. An online campaign, ‘Open Mumbai Schools Now’, was also started by several parents’ groups across social media platforms.
Covid situation in Maha
The state had reported 766 coronavirus infections and 19 fatalities on Tuesday. Active cases in Mumbai remained below 10,000 for the third consecutive day, the Maharashtra health department had said on Tuesday.
According to media reports, Health Minister Tope on Wednesday claimed that India is expected to see a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic in December but it will be mild in impact. Tope added that medical oxygen and ICU beds will not be required during the third wave period.