The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Friday announced that schools in the city will remain closed till December 31, a change from the earlier decision to reopen them from November 23, as the metropolis witnesses an upward trend in Covid-19 cases.
However, schools in other cities of Maharashtra can reopen as per schedule taking into account local conditions and the prevailing pandemic situation, an official said.
Schools in Maharashtra, which are shut since March due to the coronavirus outbreak, were set to reopen for classes 9 to 12 from November 23, post the Diwali holidays.
"Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the city. Some schools were used as testing and quarantine facilities amid the pandemic.
"To prevent further spread of the infection, we have decided to keep schools closed till December 31," Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said.
After recording 409 new coronavirus cases on November 16, the lowest daily count since April, the city registered 541, 871 and 924 fresh infections on November 17, 18 and 19, respectively.
Meanwhile, schools in other cities of the state can reopen as per schedule, the official said.
"Schools in other parts of the state can be reopened from November 23 if local conditions are favourable," said the senior official from the school education department.
If there are no cases or very few infections, then local authorities such as municipal commissioners or district collectors are empowered to reopen schools, he added.
Schools in the state have remained shut for nearly eight months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and classes are being conducted online.
Earlier this month, the Maharashtra government had announced that schools will reopen for classes 9 to 12 from November 23 with all Covid-19 safety protocols in place.
Meanwhile, the local authorities in Maharashtra will take a decision on reopening schools in their respective areas after assessing the coronavirus situation there, state school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Friday.
"Local officials, such as municipal commissioner, district collector, block development officer in zilla parishads and education officers, will have to discuss the situation in their respective areas and reopen the schools accordingly," Gaikwad said.
"They are expected to consider the current coronavirus situation and the health of the students as well as the teaching staff," she said.
"Even if the schools do not reopen, the students can still attend the online classes and learn. I have given necessary instructions to the officials concerned," the minister added.