Health dept. checklist to support school reopening

‘95% of the nearly 5 lakh staff in educational institutions across the State vaccinated’

The State government’s decision to reopen educational institutions from September 1 seems to be giving jitters to parents of school-going children They have been left wondering if adequate measures would be taken to keep their wards safe from COVID-19.

Health officials have passed on a few suggestions to their counterparts in the Education department, and that includes ensuring all teaching and non-teaching staff are vaccinated against coronavirus.

Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao said that 95% of the nearly 5 lakh teaching and non-teaching staff at educational institutions across the State are vaccinated. The remaining have been advised to get inoculated at their nearest government vaccination centre.

Dr Srinivasa Rao said that all of them should receive at least their first dose before the institutions reopen.

When schools were reopened in February this year after a gap of almost a year due to the pandemic outbreak, infection clusters started surfacing in schools and hostels. Officials suggest that if any student develops coronavirus symptoms, the principal and warden concerned have to take immediately take him/her to the nearest government health facility for testing. If the test turns up positive, the student’s close contacts have to be tested, too.

“If more than five students in any educational institution test positive for coronavirus, the DPH has to be immediately alerted about the cluster for further course of action,” officials said. In March 2021, schools were shuttered after a cluster of COVID cases was detected.

Health officials said they would be conduct regular surveillance. If anyone complaints of the symptoms, tests would be conducted and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits might be used to determine the status.

Parents feel reopening of educational institutions might trigger the third wave of COVID-19. Dr Srinivasa Rao, however, said that until a new and strong variant of coronavirus does not emerge, the third wave will not be seen.

Earlier, the senior official had said that new variants of coronavirus are seen when a large section of people are not vaccinated, or do not have antibodies to fight the virus.

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