Schools turning into hotbed of infections

136 students test positive in dist in two days, quarantined for 15 days | Eight schools closed for 48 hrs

Schools turning into hotbed of infections

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 5

As many as 136 students from private and government schools have tested positive in the past 48 hours, clearly indicating that schools have become a ‘hotbed’ of Covid-19 infections. At least 86 students from government and private schools tested positive on Thursday and 50 more students tested positive on Friday.

These 50 are a part of the 177 fresh cases which have been reported in the district today, taking the district’s total tally today to 22,256. The DEO has ordered the closure of eight schools in the district for 48 hours. A majority of those tested positive today are also from the same schools which figured in the list on Thursday.

After the first random Covid testing at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Phillaur, on February 27, a student and a teacher at the school tested positive. Since then, a total of 842 tests of the school staff and students have been conducted in which 60 students and 4 teachers have tested positive. While four teachers and 37 students tested positive yesterday, 23 more students have tested positive today. Test results of more students are also yet to come.

The DEO said all students who have tested positive will stay quarantined at their homes for the coming 15 days.

Sushila Kumari, Principal of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Phillaur, said, “The students were coming for the exams and were made to sit amid strict social distancing. But it has been upsetting to see so many of them testing positive despite following protocol. We are also worried about students and their well being. We will be taking all steps to ensure the safety and well-being of students. Whether the closure of the school is extended or not is the prerogative of the Health Department.”

On Thursday, schools at Lamma Pind, Bhogpur, Basti Sheikh, Meritorious School, Government School, PAP, Kanha Dhesian, Phillaur and Deep Nagar reported positive cases. A majority of cases has been reported from the Government Girls School, Phillaur, which reported 37 positive cases of students and one teacher on Wednesday. At St Josephs School, Deep Nagar, 10 teachers tested positive yesterday. Some of these schools have been reporting positive cases previously too — the Government School, Kanha Dhesian, saw five students testing positive previously and a student and teacher tested positive on Thursday. While at the Meritorious School also, 10 students had tested positive on February 25. At the Basti Sheikh School, two students had previously tested positive.

DEO (Secondary), Harinder Pal said, “We have ordered the closure of eight schools where students and teachers tested positive. The hostel of the meritorious school will also remain closed till its sanitisation. They’ll remain closed for 48 hours. It is only after sanitisation that they will be reopened. It is not necessary that the virus has been contracted from the school.”

Asked whether schools will be closed, the DEO said, “The affected schools have been ordered to be closed but the rest will remain open.” Teachers and parents of students at the affected schools remained a worried lot. The Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Phillaur, one of the most prestigious schools in Jalandhar, has strength of 1,300 students and a class has 50 to 60 students, who have been attending the school since the pre-boards.

Fearing infections, some teachers at other government schools have also started proceeding for leaves. District Nodal officer, Covid, Dr TP Singh said, “There is certainly a rise in the number of cases but in Jalandhar, we are also carrying out a very intensive contact tracing. As many as 51 students have tested positive today. Intensive contact tracing is taking place in the district and we are also intensifying contact tracing to cover as many students and trace maximum contacts.”

Alarming situation at Phillaur school

After the first random Covid testing at the school on February 27, a student and a teacher at the school tested positive. Since then, a total of 842 tests of the school staff and students have been conducted in which 60 students and four teachers have tested positive. While four teachers and 37 students tested positive on Thursday, 23 more students have tested positive on Friday. Test results of more students are also yet to come. The DEO said all students who have tested positive will stay quarantined at their homes for the coming 15 days.

A single class has 50-60 students

Sources at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Phillaur, said: “Around 50-60 students have been sitting together in a class. Though we had been ensuring social distancing, how can we ensure that a strict protocol is followed? The attendance had increased manifolds since the pre-boards were held since they had to be compulsorily conducted offline. So, all students, barring those who are ill, were asked to come.”

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