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The reopening of schools in Mumbai on the first day saw a 44% attendance rate among students, according to data compiled by the education department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

While all civic body- and government-run schools reopened for children, some city schools still require additional time to prepare. Out of a total of 4,043 schools in the city, 3,850 reopened on Monday, with a total of 16,35,370 students in classes 1 to 12. However, only 7,20,092 attended offline classes on the first day.

The BMC education department and the office of Deputy Director of Education (DyDE) collated the data, with the former being responsible for primary education and the latter for secondary and higher secondary education.

Despite the initial low response rate, schools and teachers are optimistic that attendance will gradually increase as offline learning continues. They believe that parents are still assessing the situation before sending their children to school.

A senior teacher from a Kurla school mentioned that the reopening of schools has motivated students to take their studies more seriously, especially those who were becoming complacent in online classes. This has also relieved students preparing for board exams this year.

Some private schools are delaying the reopening of offline classes due to weather conditions and health concerns. The principal of Shishuvan school cited a rise in cold and cough cases as a reason for caution.

Excitement was high at pre-primary schools as they opened their gates for the first time since the pandemic began. The focus was on helping children transition smoothly into offline school with fun activities such as drawings, origami, and singing.

The Early Childhood Association and Association of Primary Education and Research (ECA-APER) prepared guidelines for schools, parents, and teachers to ensure a smooth return for children, with a focus on their mental well-being.

Schools in Maharashtra originally resumed offline classes on December 15, with only classes 8 to 12 allowed to conduct in-person sessions. However, a BMC order on January 3 required schools to revert to online functioning until January 31 due to rising Covid cases. On January 20, the government approved the reopening of schools with permission from local administration as Covid cases ebbed in parts of the state.

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