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Covid-19 and Schools

Coronavirus cases in the country are at an all-time low in the last six months. So it is time to open up schools and colleges as online teaching is not sufficient for students to score well in the board exams, which are scheduled to be held in the next few months. It is thus necessary to open at least the schools in phases. Many states of India have opted to open classes 9 to 12 as these have the most vital board exams that shape a student’s career.

Many states have opted for the reopening of schools after the corona situation eased in the country. Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand were the first states to open schools from 15th December 2020. Other states like Kerala, Assam, Maharastra, and West Bengal soon followed. Though the initial days were fine, corona cases soon cropped up, spreading in the schools. Some state governments are now thinking about whether to shut down schools again and resume online teaching.

Madhya Pradesh recorded one of the first corona cases from schools when 10 school girls tested positive from a government-run school in the Betul district on 15th January this year. Two days later, Gujarat too saw 11 girls tested positive in a school-cum-hostel on the first day of school reopening. However, the initial cases did not last long as the schools were closed down for a week curbing any virus spread.

One of the biggest corona spreading from schools started in a Government Higher Secondary school in Marancherry, Malappuram district, where 150 students and 34 teachers were tested positive for covid-19. Another school in Marancherry had 42 students, and 38 teachers tested Covid-19 positive. All 192 students belong to class 10.

Though Maharashtra has been badly affected by coronavirus spread, the rural parts of the state were largely spared. After a steady decline in the last few days, Covid-19 cases have yet again spiked in Maharashtra, this time in rural districts of Amravati and Yavatmal. The reopening of schools is being blamed for having caused the spreading of the virus in the countryside. 225 students and 4 teachers have been reported from a single hostel in a school in the Washim district. The school has 327 students. Most of them are from Amravati and Yavatmal districts.

Earlier this week, 39 students and 5 employees from a hostel in the MIDC area of the Latur district of the state had been tested positive for Covid-19. Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, Latur will observe a janata curfew on 27th and 28th February. The State Government plans to shut down schools from 1st March onwards until the Covid situation normalizes again.

Assam recorded as few as 25 daily cases per day. But fresh Covid-19 cases among teachers of Don Bosco School, Guwahati, have raised concern over spreading of the virus. The famed school has now been declared as a containment zone. The good thing is no government-run school reported corona cases after reopening.

Similarly, in West Bengal, 3 teachers have been tested corona positive at Kolkata’s Kasba Chittaranjan High School. The health department has asked for a new standard operating procedure in schools, such as proper sanitization, inspection. Karnataka reported as many as 166 teachers from various institutes in different places had been tested corona positive within one week after schools reopened on 1st January 2021. Though these figures are not alarming, it also means that regular resumption of schools and colleges will not take place anytime soon.

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Written by – Himadri Paul

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