PTI

Maharashtra minister Varsha Gaikwad on Thursday said that schools for Classes 1 to 9 in the state can be reopened for offline classroom sessions from January 24.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has approved a proposal to this effect sent to him by the school education department, she told reporters.

"Written instructions on this will be issued either today or tomorrow," the school education minister added.

Schools in Maharashtra were closed in the first week of January due to a spike in the coronavirus cases and in the wake of the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant. However, a number of parents, activists in the field as well as teachers had strongly opposed the move to shut the schools, saying it would adversely affect the students.

In Mumbai, the local civic body had announced the closure of schools for Classes 1 to 9 till January 31.

However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) assessment had indicated that the cases of Omicron infection are not on the rise, and it had said that the curve was flattening. It prompted the officials to propose the reopening of schools for physical attendance.

"Our SOPs are very strict and clear. We have given four days advance notice to the management of schools to undertake vaccination and sanitisation and for preparation of time-table. The timing and other necessary decisions will be taken by the local authorities, such as district collector or municipal commissioner based on the local situations," Gaikwad said.

On Wednesday, she had said that a proposal to reopen the schools in the state had been sent to the chief minister for his approval.

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