Don’t call us until schools reopen, say Maharashtra teachers
Teachers have urged the Maharashtra government to ensure that they are not called to schools until the educational institutions reopen for students owing to the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak
Teachers have urged the Maharashtra government to ensure that they are not called to schools until the educational institutions reopen for students owing to the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
The plea came following a recent central government notification that granted permission to educational institutions to call teachers and non-teaching staff from September 21, despite the contagion.
The unlock 4.0 guidelines suggest allowing teaching and non-teaching staff to attend schools under special circumstances.
In several representations made to the state government, teachers have consistently maintained that considering the daily spike in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai and Maharashtra, they should not be forced to physically report to schools anytime soon.
“At present, there is a huge risk involved in attending schools. Besides, a lack of suburban train service in Mumbai makes the commute to work from satellite towns in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) a harrowing experience. Besides, teachers will end up giving lessons online, as schools are shut since end-March due to the pandemic. We request the state government to allow us to work from home,” said Rajesh Pandya, vice-president, Teachers Democratic Forum (TDF).
Anil Bornare, the coordinator of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) teachers’ cell, alleged that several schools in Mumbai were compelling teachers to report to work and making them travel long distances.
“Many teachers, who travel from Thane, Kalyan, Bhiwandi etc to Mumbai have to spend thousands of rupees on transportation daily, as suburban train service is not operational. The state government’s resolution dated June 24 had clearly stated that teachers ought to be allowed to work from home. Why are schools forcing teachers to report to work?” he asked.
An official from the state education department said that the government would come up with its own guidelines for school teachers soon.
As per the guidelines issued by the department on June 24, all schools in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar should allow their teachers to continue work from home until schools reopen.
“In these places travelling is a big issue, as public transport is still not fully functional. However, in case, where the principal deems fit, teachers can be called twice a week for development of e-learning content or preparing for physical reopening of schools,” the guidelines had stated.
Female teachers; those with comorbidities such as diabetes, respiratory issues, blood pressure etc; and male teachers above the age of 55 years were exempted from physically attending schools, the guidelines had further clarified.