New Delhi: Nearly two-thirds of parents of Maharashtra’s school children are unwilling to send them for classes, after the state government Thursday announced their reopening from Monday, 24 January, a survey by community social media platform LocalCircles has found.
“With children under 15 years being unvaccinated and between 15-18 years of age only partially vaccinated, with the highly transmissible nature of Omicron, many parents are concerned about sending children for in-person schools,” the survey noted.
The survey was conducted across all districts in Maharashtra and covered 4,976 people. While 67 per cent of the respondents were men, 33 per cent were women. Of the respondents, 44 per cent were from tier-1 cities, 31 per cent from tier-2 cities and 25 per cent from tier-3 and 4 towns and rural areas.
The respondents were asked if they would send their children to schools from 24 January. To this, 62 per cent of parents answered ‘no’, 11 per cent said they would do so, while 16 per cent said that they were already sending their kids to schools to attend classes.
The report also found that many parents want the state’s Covid positivity rate to drop below five per cent before allowing their children to go to schools. On Saturday, the positivity rate was around 20 per cent, and 46,393 cases were detected, according to government data.
“In community discussions, many of them have highlighted long-term implications of Covid, as well as the need for in-person schools to only start when test positivity rates fall to five per cent or lower,” the survey stated.
Local bodies to have final say
The Maharashtra government had announced Thursday that schools, including pre-primary classes, will resume from 24 January, amid the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the state government had decided to reopen schools only after 15 February.
The government, however, has also stated that local bodies have the final power to decide on the reopening of schools, depending on the Covid-19 situation in their respective areas.
The move, however, doesn’t force any student to attend offline classes after the schools are reopened. Moreover, in Pune and Aurangabad, schools will continue to operate in the online mode.
Maharashtra had reported 48,270 new Covid cases and 52 deaths Friday. The state’s Covid positivity rate that day was 23.4 per cent.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)