Banners, balloons and posters exhorting caution greeted Mumbai students as they set foot in their classrooms after a gap of nearly 19 months following a state government notification permitting students of classes 8 to 12 to return starting October 4.

On September 29 the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) permitted city schools to reopen for the first time since they were closed mid-March to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Day 1, however, saw limited attendance in schools across all boards even as schools across the city greeted students with ‘Welcome Back’ posters, balloons and posters exhorting them to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“Only 25% students from classes 9 and 10 batches came to school today and they were thrilled, as were we. Teachers as well as other non-teaching staff members have been waiting to hear the buzz of students in the school corridors and finally, online interactions were once again replaced with physical interactions in a classroom,” said Rupa Roy, principal of Balmohan Vidyamandir, Dadar.

At Pant Nagar School No. 3 in Ghatkopar, a “Welcome Back” banner greeted students at the gate and balloons decorated the corridors of the school. However, out of 133 students enrolled in class 8, only 55 students had submitted consent letters from parents – a condition put forward by the BMC for all city schools – to attend class. Only 10 attended school on Monday.

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