Pune: Majority of the schools in Pune city and adjoining Pimpri Chinchwad town in Maharashtra reopened on Thursday (December 16) for classes 1 to 7, with authorities saying students were happy and excited to be back for physical sessions after a long time. Schools and other educational institutions were closed in March last year following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and later online classes were started for students.
Earlier, the schools for students of primary and middle sections in Maharashtra were supposed to reopen in the first week of December, but the decision was postponed due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
In Pune, an order to reopen schools on Thursday was issued by municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar. “Majority of the schools have reopened today in the district. On the first day, a considerable number of students returned to their schools, looking happy and energetic,” Pune district principals’ association president Harishchandra Gaikwad told PTI.
Before opening the gates for students, the schools made necessary arrangements to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
Authorities of various schools accorded a warm welcome to the students in the morning. The Dnyanganga English Medium School in Sinhgad Road area was decorated with balloons and the students were greeted with flowers and chocolates. “The response is very good on the first day as more than 50 per cent of the total students attended the school. There was happiness and energy on their faces,” the school’s principal, Renuka Dutta, said.
The Hindustan Antibiotics School in Pimpri Chinchwad town registered about 90 per cent attendance on the first day of physical classes.
“We had already sanitised the entire campus and classrooms. The students were greeted with flowers and flower petals were showered on them,” said the school’s principal, Surekha Jadhav. She said all the students looked happy and the morning assembly was conducted at the school ground while following the physical distancing norms. One student per bench is being allowed to maintain physical distance, she said, adding that online classes are also going on for those not coming to the school.
Authorities in the district have asked the schools to follow all COVID-19 protocols, while RT-PCR test has been made mandatory for teachers and non-teaching staff who are not fully vaccinated yet. The Pune Municipal Corporation has asked school managements to complete vaccination of their staff.