Karnataka government unlikely to change plan to reopen schools from January 1

A BBMP health worker collecting a swab sample from a passenger for a COVID-19 test at Kempegowda Bus Station in Bengaluru on Tuesday.  

The State government is unlikely to immediately postpone the plan to reopen schools from January 1 for some classes.

The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that met on Tuesday in the light of the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 emerging, has recommended that the government should wait and watch the situation for the next four weeks and then take a call.

TAC sources told The Hindu that it was too early to roll back the government’s decision on schools reopening as of now.

“Mutation of any virus is natural and all that we now know is that the new strain is highly contagious, 70% more than the original virus. However, there is no change in its virulence and symptoms. It is a dynamic situation,” sources said.

“Also, with no case infected with the new strain being detected so far, we do not know whether the new strain will wreak havoc or whether the existing situation will continue. All the members opined that any decision reopening of schools should be taken after studying the situation in the next three-four weeks,” sources pointed out.

“Moreover, with nearly 50% of the State’s population having been exposed to COVID-19 so far, we are hoping cross immunity will be there to a large extent. There is no reason to panic as of now,” asserted a senior TAC member.

The State government announced two days ago that classes for SSLC and 12th Standard would begin from January 1. It had also announced that the ‘Vidyagama’ scheme, a continuous learning programme, would also resume for students of Classes 6 to 9 from January 1.

Night curfew

Even as Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa ruled out the possibility of introducing the night curfew in Karnataka, Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar told reporters that the TAC would discuss introducing the night curfew in the light of the new strain.

Replying to reporters on whether Karnataka would follow Maharashtra that has imposed a 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. night curfew till January 5 in Mumbai and other cities, the Chief Minister said: “There is no such proposal now.”

Mr. Sudhakar said a decision on introducing night curfew will be taken based on the TAC’s recommendation in consultation with the Chief Minister. However, TAC sources said night curfew was not taken up for discussion at all.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:47:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-government-unlikely-to-change-plan-to-reopen-schools-from-january-1/article33398175.ece

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