Schools won’t reopen in Goa unless all the stakeholders agree: CM Pramod Sawant

Panaji:  The Goa government will take a decision on reopening schools only after consulting all the stakeholders including teachers. Amid rising coronavirus cases, the safety of students is of paramount importance, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said.

Teachers’ associations are opposing¬† to restarting physical classes immediately, fearing it would be impossible to maintain social distancing in schools.

Sawant said he has asked the state education secretary and director of education to hold consultations with stakeholders, including school managements, parent-teacher associations and teachers’ bodies such as the Goa Headmaster’s Association and Goa Principal’s Forum.

The decision to reopen schools will be taken only after getting approvals from all the stakeholders and putting necessary Standard Operating Procedures in place, he said.

Sawant had held consultations with the stakeholders in the last week of September, and it was then decided that schools will not reopen immediately from October 1.

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As part of the Unlock 5.0 guidelines, states have been asked to decide on reopening schools from October 15.

Sawant said the Goa government is thinking of starting classes of standards 10th and 12th first, if and when it decides to reopen schools.

Teachers’ associations opposed immediate reopening of schools during a meeting with Director of Education Santosh Amonkar, sources said.

Maintaining social distancing in schools all the time is difficult, teachers’ representatives said.

“None of the schools have the infrastructure to conduct classes while maintaining social distancing. There are common toilets for students, with hundreds of them sharing a single facility in many schools. This will further spread the viral infection,” a representative of the Goa Headmaster’s Association said.

Teachers are already holding classes online and in some cases even visiting students at their homes, he said.

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