Tamil Nadu

‘COVID-19 cases among students only sporadic’

Around 400-odd students had tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened for higher classes in Tamil Nadu and “these were isolated, sporadic cases and not clusters,” State Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on Thursday.

Safe protocols

“The decision to reopen schools was recommended by the expert committee at a time when the COVID-19 positivity rate was less than one percent. The committee was of the view that we reopen schools taking into consideration the mental health issues faced by students and we came up with Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) to ensure safe protocols,” he explained at a panel discussion on ‘Back to School: Challenges and Opportunities’ organised by UNICEF and the Press Institute of India.

“We are keeping a close watch and officials across the health and education department are participating in regular reviews to keep an eye on the situation,” he said, adding that every school has been directed to strictly follow SoPs.

K. Lakshminarasimha Rao, Chief, Social Policy, UNICEF Chennai, said that with 40% of children having no access to digital devices according to a rapid survey carried out by them, it was important that schools reopen and address the learning loss over the last year.

Calling for multi-layered protection, Ravi Chandran, Professor of Paediatrics, Institute of Child Health, said that schools should advocate masking, physical distancing, frequently washing hands, ensuring faculty members do not come in if they have symptoms as well as have a random surveillance mechanism in place to test everyone on campus periodically.

“With herd immunity being relatively high, it is a good time for schools to reopen provided they follow all these measures,” he said.

Anuradha Ramakrishnan, principal, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Rukmani Shreedharan, principal, PSBB Millennium School, OMR, Dr Benny Benjamin, senior paediatrician, Sudha Umashanker, journalist, and Gunisha Agarwal, founder Help E-learning were among the other stakeholders who shared their thoughts at the discussion moderated by advocate Sanjay Pinto.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 11:33:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/covid-19-cases-among-students-only-sporadic/article36641058.ece

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