When should schools reopen in India after COVID-19 hiatus? Here’s what Centre says


New Delhi: Amid the speculations of a possible third wave, which many experts believe will hit India soon and might affect children the most, NITI Aayog (health) member Dr. VK Paul on Friday (June 18, 2021) cleared some doubts concerning parents, children and teachers.

Speaking to reporters, Dr. Paul said that, “A lot of things need to be considered while deciding on the reopening schools. This is a question that keeps coming up.” 

India has been witnessing a drop in new COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks. This decline in daily COVID-19 cases started after the country hit a global record high with over 4 lakh cases in a day. 

The educational institutions in the country have been closed for more than a year now and as many states have begun their unlock process, and with the vaccination drive going on in full swing, every individual wonder if the schools in the country are going to be reopened soon. 

Dr. VK Paul said that the government will consider reopening schools only when the majority of teachers and staff are vaccinated. 

“The time should come soon. But we must also consider how schools were reopened in foreign countries and they had to close after the outbreak. We do not want to put our students and teachers in such a situation,” Dr. Paul said.

The NITI Aayog member explained that reopening schools before the pandemic settles or till sufficient people are vaccinated against the viral infection.

“…we should also remember that in many countries schools reopened, then outbreaks were reported and they had to shut them down again. We don’t want to put our children and teachers in that situation unless we have more confidence that the pandemic won’t harm us. Discussion on reopening of schools remains a part of the larger discourse but information that seroprevalence remains equal among children will be useful data,” he said.

Earlier, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria had stated that the third wave is ‘inevitable’ and it could hit the country in the next six to eight weeks, adding that it depends on how people go ahead in terms of COVID-appropriate behaviour and prevent crowds.

Meanwhile, India on Sunday (June 20, 2021) recorded 58,419 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the active caseload in the country has now dropped to 7,29,243. The national weekly positivity rate now stands at 3.43%, while the daily positivity rate has come down to 3.22%. 

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