Mumbai: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday gave his nod to the school education department’s proposal to reopen schools for students from classes 9 to 12 from November 23. Shrines, too, may be opened after the festival, he said.

Following a meeting with minister Varsha Gaikwad and minister of state Bacchu Kadu and other officials from the department, Thackeray said that schools will start after Diwali with all the requisite precautions in place.

“We are considering to reopen schools after Diwali while taking all precautionary measures. Religious places will also be allowed to open”, news agency ANI quoted Thackeray as saying.

He asserted that a Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) on preventive measures for all religious places would be issued after Diwali.

The school education department has issued an standard operating procedure for the phased reopening of schools. According to the guidelines, students will be called to school on alternate days and one student will be seated on one bench. Students will also be thermally scanned. They will have to eat their meals before coming to school and carry their own water.

In-person teaching will be done only for four hours a day and for challenging subjects such as math, Science and English. The rest of the subjects will be taught online.

Meanwhile, Thackeray urged people to not burn firecrackers this Diwali as pollution can increase the impact of COVID-19.

“I appeal to people to not burn firecrackers rather lit earthen lamps. 15 days post-Diwali will be crucial, we should be cautious so that the need for lockdown does not arise again”, Thackeray added.