, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday, 24 September, announced the reopening of all places of worship from 7 October, the first day of the Navratri festival.
The decision came after the state's education minister, Varsha Gaikwad, announced the reopening of schools in the state from 4 October and laid down some additional SOPs for the same.
"Schools can restart physical classes for standards 5-12th in rural areas and standards 8-12th in urban areas," the education minister stated.
Based on detailed deliberations with the paediatric task force, all stakeholders & guidance of @CMOMaharashtra,SOPs for school reopenings have been further strengthened. Schools can restart physical classes for Std 5-12th in rural areas & Std 8-12th in urban areas from October 4 pic.twitter.com/KWKocMMvep
— Prof. Varsha Eknath Gaikwad (@VarshaEGaikwad) September 24, 2021
Thackeray on Friday said that the new 'Break the Chain' unlock order comes after the state handled the second wave of the pandemic and is now fully geared to tackle the potential third wave, IANS reported.
In a late evening statement, he added, "From the auspicious first day of Navratri, all places of worship shall be thrown open for devotees to pray... all COVID-19 protocols must be followed."
Here's all we know about the new unlock guidelines.
I am a class 7 student in a city in Maharashtra. Will I be able to attend offline school?
No. Physical classes will not resume yet for standards 1st to 7th in urban areas and standards 1st to 4th in rural areas.
Will private schools be open?
The reopening will be in effect for government and civic schools, private schools and across boards.
Will it be compulsory for students to attend school?
Though schools will reopen across the entire state, there is no compulsion for students to attend physical classes. Consent of parents will be necessary if they want to attend.
What about transport?
A safe transport plan for all students is yet to be formulated. However, students will be encouraged to walk to school.
Will vaccination be compulsory for teachers and staff?
Yes. Vaccination has been made compulsory for teachers/staff.
How will I do the classwork if I can't attend school?
As per the guidelines, classwork will be gradually increased in the first couple of weeks. The state government has encouraged the preparation of online homework assignments to minimise physical contact in the classroom.
Is the opening of religious places of worship only for Navratris?
No, the reopening of places of worship is not restricted to the Navratris. All places of worship including masjids, churches and gurudwaras which are outside COVID-19 containment zones will reopen on 7 October. However, thermal screening, face masks, use of sanitiser and hand wash will be mandatory.
Further, common prayers mats will be discouraged.
Will large religious gatherings be allowed?
No. Religious congregations will be prohibited.
Will I be allowed to leave my footwear outside the temple?
Yes, there no restriction for this. However, people will be advised to leave their shoes in their own vehicle or keep them in individual slots.
How many people will be allowed inside a place of worship at once?
Staggering visitations will be done. The number of people allowed inside the premises will be based on factors such as the size of structure, ventilation, and will be fixed by concerned local authorities such as the district collector or the municipal corporation.
What else is prohibited inside a place of worship?
Touching of saints, holy books and idols will not be allowed.
Physical offerings such as prasad, sprinkling of holy water will be prohibited.
Symptomatic visitors will not be allowed inside the religious place.
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