MUMBAI: Schools in remote areas of Maharashtra without internet connectivity and unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic should be reopened by implementing social distancing norms, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday.
Stressing that the new academic year should begin in June, as in the normal times, the CM also called for the need to develop and strengthen online educationsystem in the state.
Maharashtra is worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic with 65,168 cases and 2,197 deaths so far.
"In remote areas, where there is no internet connectivity and coronavirus pandemic spread, schools should be reopened by implementing social distancing norms. In places where there is a problem in physically restarting schools, the option of online education must be used," he told officials of the School Education department and Minister Varsha Gaikwad in a meeting held via video conferencing.
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While it is not necessary that schools must restart now, the department should develop and strengthen the online education system in the long run, he said.
"Coronavirus pandemic shouldn't be a roadblock in the education of children. The academic year (2020-21) must start from June. Maharashtra should set an example before the rest of the country," said Thackeray.
He said Google platforms could be used onan experimental basis.
"Education is a necessity which cannot be allowed to be stopped, he said.
The CM also said that premises of schools currently used as a coronavirus quarantine facility should be disinfected and sanitised before making them reusable.