The ‘Inside Districts’ series launched in April 2020 is a one-of-its-kind attempt to capture the experiences of district and Block-level officials, panchayat functionaries, beneficiaries, and frontline workers, on their challenges and best practices.
This interview was conducted with a Block Education Officer (BEO) in Maharashtra in Hindi on 4 March 2021, and has been translated.
Q: Have schools reopened now?
Block Education Officer (BEO): Schools had reopened. Standards 9th to 12th started on 23 November 2020 and we got a good response. After that, from 27 January 2021, classes for Standards 5th to 8th were also started.
We were taking all sorts of precautions. Schools were sanitised, RT-PCR tests were conducted for teachers, and only one student was allowed to sit on each bench. Thermometer, thermal scanners, disinfectant, oxymetres were also made available in schools.
However, the virus still reached the schools, some teachers and students were found COVID-19 positive. After that, we received instructions from the District Magistrate to close all the schools till Standard 9th from 4 March 2021.
Q: What about the ICT infrastructure in the schools of your Block?
BEO: ICT infrastructure and related facilities and resources are available in 95 per cent of the schools.
Q: Have schools started giving mid-day meals (MDM)?
BEO: No, we were not providing MDM even when the schools were open. Students were asked to eat at home and then come to school, tiffins were also not allowed. Ration was given to the parents instead of MDM. Now, the schools have been closed again, but we are continuing to give ration.
More experiences can be found on the dedicated Inside Districts platform.