With Maratha protesters intensifying their agitation as the day progressed and staging rasta rokos at various spots in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), several schools decided to cancel their afternoon shifts on Wednesday.

With no official notification coming from the state education department, most schools in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, which have morning shifts, were functioning, though attendance was low. “We had poor attendance in the first half because many parents were worried and chose to not send their children to school,” said Swapna Trailokya, principal, Parle Tilak Vidyalay.

Rohan Bhatt, chairperson of the Children’s Academy group of institutes, said they decided to cancel the second shift to ensure the safety of their students. “The protest is picking up pace, and we don’t want to take any risk. The school will not operate its afternoon shift. We will make up by working on Saturday,” Bhatt said.

Uday Nare, a teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School in Andheri, said the school, which has morning classes, functioned smoothly. “We had not declared a holiday as there was no circular from the government. Classes went on smoothly.”

Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA), said that while buses were running, many got stuck because of rasta rokos. “Many school buses are stuck on the highway due to rasta rokos. We are hoping that they will move and students can be dropped soon,” he said.

Similarly, degree colleges in the city and suburbs, where classes are usually held in the morning, were open, though some of them reported low attendance. “We have kept the college open as there was no intimation regarding any holiday by the government. But not many students could make it,” said Vidyadhar Joshi, vice-principal, VG Vaze College, Mulund. He added that the staff faced no difficulty reaching the institute in the morning.

However, principals of junior colleges, which mostly have afternoon hours, are unsure if they will be able to conduct classes. “Our afternoon staff is yet to reach college,” said Naresh Chandra, principal, BK Birla College, Kalyan.

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