Schools and colleges for classes 9 to 12 reopened in the rural areas of Pune district on Monday for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak started in March, with officials claiming student attendance was around 30 per cent.
Educational institutions in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic areas continue to be shut till December 13 and November 30 respectively.
Zilla Parishad Education Officer Ganpat More said there were over 1,200 schools and colleges in the district’s rural areas and some 30-35 were expected to open on Monday.
“I toured some schools and found the attendance to be in the range of 30 per cent. I spoke to parents who were apprehensive about the safety of their children due to the outbreak. All these schools are adhering to COVID-19 norms. Teachers and other staff are being tested for the infection as well,” he said.
More said till Saturday, over 4,700 teachers had been tested for novel coronavirus, and only 13 reports returned positive, though these too are asymptomatic.
“On arrival, all students were thermally screened, their oxygen levels were checked, and classrooms were deep sanitized. We also took care of social distancing in the seating arrangements,” said Sopan Kanchan, secretary, Mahatma Gandhi Sarvoday Sangh Trust, which runs a school in Urali Kanchan.
AT Kalamkar, principal of V S Satav High School and Junior College in Wagholi area said 56 students, out of 350 from class 12, and 75 students, out of 650 from class 10, attended on Monday.
“The tests of all 95 teachers at our institution returned negative,” he added.
Pawar Payal, a student at SV Satav High School said she was excited to attend classes physically after eight months but her parents were apprehensive about her wellbeing, adding that measures taken by the school management were very reassuring.