Nearly 88% schools for classes 9 to 12 reopened in Maharashtra by January 4, with over 15 lakh students physically attending schools daily. The attendance of students in schools has increased by nearly five times as compared to a month before, as per state government data.

On January 4, the state education department released the data for phase-wise reopening of schools across the state and the number of students attending physically. Until Tuesday, over 19,000 schools in different parts of the state had reopened for classes 9 to 12 while also adhering to the guidelines with respect to offline learning during Covid-19.

The highest attendance of students in schools was recorded in Parbhani – 85.8% followed by Kolhapur, where 64.6% students physically attended schools. In districts such as Akola, Amravati and Dhule, the attendance was below 10%.

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In Palghar district, 240 schools have reopened so far with more than 25,000 students attending them regularly. After schools in Pune reopened on January 3, more than 82,000 students attended in the first week itself. Overall, only about 29% students in the state are attending regularly. As per the standard operating procedures laid down by the education department, 50% students are allowed to attend school on a day on an alternate day basis.

Officials from the state education department said that the attendance was bound to increase with time as students and parents get more confident about schools being safe.

“Schools are following all the precautions and especially in rural and semi urban areas, a large number of children are keen on physically attending schools. Some parents are still scared but are likely to send their children to school soon after seeing them operate without any issues,” said the official.

The state education department has still not taken a decision about reopening schools for classes 1 to 8. Education minister Varsha Gaikwad had said that a decision in this respect was yet to be arrived at. Meanwhile, schools in Mumbai will remain shut at least until January 15.

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