The State School Education Minister of Maharashtra, Varsha Gaikwad, has recently said that the schools in Maharashtra will not reopen before Diwali, which will be celebrated in November this year, in view of the rise in the Covid-19 cases in the state.

All educational institutes, including schools, colleges and universities have been closed in Maharashtra from March 16 as per the directions issued by the central government, to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines for the reopening of schools in Unlock 5 so that students don’t experience any more academic loss. The schools in all the states can now reopen from October 15, following several safety measures.

Though the central government has allowed the reopening of schools, the Maharashtra government has no plans to do so before Diwali. Maharashtra has till now reported 15,17,434 Covid-19 cases and 40,040 deaths due to the disease.

Gaikwad, who recently recovered from Covid-19, said schools have been conducting virtual classes and teachers have been taking special classes for students in some areas. However, the challenge is to find a way to end the academic year and assess students, she told PTI.

"While we are exploring various options, it is clear that schools will not open before Diwali," Gaikwad said. Many senior officials have also said that the reopening of schools in the current situation is out of the question since the pandemic is not slowing down.

State Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant also said his department does not intend to reopen colleges until the COVID-19 situation is under control. "The situation is grim for students who wish to pursue higher studies abroad, as their future depends on our decision," he told PTI.
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