Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Maharashtra tweeted on Thursday, January 20, that he will discuss the opening of colleges in the state with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The Maharashtra Government, on January 8, had announced the closure of colleges till February 15, 2022. Following the low cases of hospitalization in the state, college students have requested offline classes. Uday Samant’s tweet comes as a relief to many students.
He tweeted, “Will discuss with Hon. Chief Minister Uddhav Saheb regarding starting colleges in the state, and will send him the proposal for final approval.” The tweet has received many replies, with some expressing concerns about COVID and the Omicron variant. But most of them are happy with the news.
The decision is under review. The students are expecting an announcement any time now. Following the tweet, he has clarified that all exams scheduled till February 15, will be conducted in online mode. He further stated that only fully vaccinated students will be allowed to enter the campus and that COVID protocols have to be strictly followed.
Students & Parents against the decision
Along with the closure of colleges on January 8, schools too were closed. But a group of parents from the “Parents Association of Mumbai 2021” had sent letters to the Chief Minister and the Municipal Commissioner, requesting that schools be opened immediately. On January 20, Maharashtra Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad announced that schools will reopen for all students of Classes 1 to 12, from January 24, Monday, though the final decision rests with respective local bodies. This news gives hope to the college students who wish to return to campus.
The Union Health Ministry identified Maharashtra as one among the 6 states of concern, on January 20. Though active vaccination campaign, especially for the student community has proven beneficial, the rising cases of COVID19 and the Omicron variant are posing a huge threat. Maharashtra recorded around 45,000 new cases on January 20, of which 125 cases are Omicron infections. The state also recorded 37 deaths due to COVID. Mumbai alone logged 5708 COVID cases and 12 deaths on January 20.