Maharashtra government in a circular released on Monday said that the schools and junior colleges can start conducting classes for class 9th, class 10th, and class 12th from July 1 if they fall outside red zones for COVID-19 pandemic. Classes for class 6 to class 8 will begin from August 1, added the circular, reports Times of India.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of the state, Uddhav Thackeray, along with the School Education Minister, Varsha Gaikwad on Monday, adds the report.

The circular said that in the areas where schools cannot be opened, the process of education should continue online via other digital mediums. Classes 1 and 2 are exempted from online teaching but remaining classes should be conducted virtually for certain hours per week. The circular also said that the government is trying to use the All India Radio for teaching to reach out to more students.

The decision is already facing criticism amidst the rising COVID-19 cases with the state being the worst affected with more than 1.1 lakh cases and more than 4.100 deaths. The state has at least 11 districts with more than 1000 cases and Mumbai alone has almost 60,000 cases. TOI says that several teacher and principal unions have asked the government to open schools for all the classes in August.