Majority of parents in Maharashtra unwilling to send children to school from Monday: Survey

About 62 percent of parents surveyed in Maharashtra are unwilling to send their children to school from January 24, amid the state government’s decision to allow schools to reopen from Monday. The findings were based on a survey conducted by the online community platform LocalCircle in state tier-I, tier-II/III and tier-IV cities that received 4,976 responses.

Of the total, 67 percent of respondents were male and the remaining 33 percent were female, the survey found.

Immediately after the start of the Omicron-led third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maharashtra’s government had ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in the state on Jan. 8 until Feb. 15 to contain the spread of the virus. .

However, on January 20, contrary to a previous decision, the state education minister announced that schools in the state will reopen for the 1st-12th standard from January 24.

While the BMC has allowed schools to reopen in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has authorized local authorities to make the decision on reopening schools after assessing the COVID-19 situation in their respective areas.

However, students will not be forced to attend physical classes where schools reopen. In cities such as Pune and Aurangabad, it has been decided to keep schools closed while classes continue online.

LocalCircles has been closely monitoring parents’ willingness to send their children to face-to-face school classes at the national and state levels since the start of the pandemic.

Amid Maharashtra’s announcement to reopen schools, LocalCircles has once again gone back to parents to understand their willingness to send their district to school from January 24, it said.

In response, the majority – 62 percent of parents of schoolchildren in Maharashtra surveyed – said they are unwilling to send their children to school from January 24.

“However, 11 percent of citizens said yes (sending from Jan. 24) and 16 percent said they are already sending their children (to school),” said LocalCircles.

At the same time, 11 percent gave no opinion.

In summary, 62 percent of parents of school-age children surveyed in Maharashtra are unwilling to send their children to school from January 24, amid a spate of COVID cases and a high test positivity rate between 20-25 percent in the state, it stated.

On Friday, Maharashtra reported 48,270 COVID cases out of 2,05,938 tests conducted and there were 37 related deaths, according to the LocalCircles.

The test positivity rate (TPR) in the state remains high at 23.4 percent, it said, adding with children under 15 who are unvaccinated and the 15-18 age group only partially vaccinated and Omicron’s highly transmissible nature, many parents worry about sending children to personal school.

In the community discussions, many of them have emphasized the long-term implications of COVID and the need for personal schools to start only when the TPR falls to 5 percent or below, it said.

The platform also said it will share the findings of this inquiry with the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to take into account citizens’ heart rates for Maharashtra and use it as a reference when other states consider reopening schools.

Sajal Jain
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