Decision can prove disastrous as kids below 18 yrs of age not vaccinated | Schools can turn ‘super spreaders’
Though Covid-19 cases have started witnessing a decline in India, the Punjab Government should be in no hurry to re-open educational institutions, especially schools, as the move is fraught with several implications for students, parents and the society. Going by the experience of the past year-and-a-half, the impact of the third wave could be disastrous. Hence, it is much better to wait for a while to see how the pandemic pans out before taking a decision on reopening schools and colleges. Until the vaccination process is complete, we should not take any such risk with our children, even though the new normal of online learning can never replicate the real school interactions.
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Too risky for kids
Warning and advisories are being issued by the government and medical council regarding the spread of a third wave of coronavirus. Ignoring these warnings, state governments are re-opening schools and colleges along with other establishments. It is very risky to send kids to schools without vaccination. Students below 18 must be vaccinated before being allowed to attend schools or colleges. The government should permit not more than 10 students in a class, while ensuring that all norms are taken care of. Till then, teaching must be continued online. Academic institutions should allow entry only to those students who are fully vaccinated with two doses. State governments must focus on creating infrastructure for the third wave. So, they must refrain from opening school and colleges.
Dr Mohd Saleem Farooqui
Open schools in phases
I am of the firm belief that we have to learn to live with this disease. For how long can we keep educational institutions closed? Already, there is a lot of academic loss, especially of Class X and XII students. We can’t wait for any longer. I am not saying that the schools should be opened fully, but these can be opened in phases. Proper precautions, like physical distancing, sanitizing the classrooms regularly, making mask a compulsory part of school uniform etc should be followed so as to check the spread of the virus. Children are our future, we can’t take any risk with their lives, but at the same time, we can’t even keep them at homes due to the fear of the pandemic.
Bir Devinder Singh Bedi
As schools were shut, children from affluent families transitioned to online schooling almost seamlessly but the underprivileged kids were affected in a completely different manner. So, it is difficult to continue with online classes with a huge digital gap among students. As online classes drag on, fatigued students are losing interest and becoming asocial. Students want to go back to school for morning prayers, playground time, face-to-face interactions etc. Children have largely been spared the effects of Covid- 19. They can return to physical classes even without immunisation, with adequate safety protocols like masking, social distancing and ventilation. The entire staff must be duly inoculated prior to the opening of the institution. It is also important to vaccinate the children as and when one is approved.
Ensure vaccination of kids
The government must rethink opening academic institutions, especially schools. Universities and colleges may be allowed on the condition that only vaccinated students would be permitted to attend. The government must start a drive to vaccinate students under the age of 18 years. Schools should continue with online teaching till each and every student is jabbed. It is expected that the third wave would hit in September. The government must wait and watch instead of taking a hasty and irrational decision without any preparation for the third wave. The third wave might affect children below 18 years of age more. The decision to open schools may be risky in these circumstances.
Online study safer option
Recently, we came to know that the government had allowed schools to re-open, while on the other hand people are afraid of the third wave approaching. Also, school students are under 18 and not vaccinated yet. So, at present, schools should prefer online study for the safety of students as well as teachers. The government should wait for the third wave to recede before considering opening schools.
Can prove disastrous
It is not advisable to re-open educational institution, especially schools, when children below 18 years remain non-vaccinated. The fear of the third Covid wave is looming large. Opening of schools and colleges can prove disastrous as infection could spread faster among students. It is much better to wait for a while to see how the pandemic pans out before taking a decision on re-opening educational institutions. If residents don’t follow restrictions religiously, then the third wave might be more dangerous than the second one. Till the situation becomes better, lockdown should not be lifted.
Vaccinate on war footing
According to the WHO, the world is already in the grip of the third wave of Covid and children are more prone to its attack. All schools were closed during the second wave to protect children from the infection. It has been so long that the schools are closed and the children’s studies are suffering. But they are yet to get vaccinated. To ensure that children are safe and their studies do not suffer any more, their vaccination should be taken up on war footing and only thereafter should the schools be opened. We should let the schools remain closed for some more time. The safety of children is of prime importance to the nation.
Opening of schools now is not safe. We have already lost much due to Covid — our children remained in houses, studies have been badly affected, they could not play with their friends and they even lost touch with their teachers. But the measures were taken for the safety of their lives. The movement of mass vaccination of the age group 18-45 years has paid many dividends. Now, with the third wave approaching, the non-observance of guidelines can destroy the benefits. Not opening schools for one or two years in such sordid scenario would not matter much. We must save our children from the pandemic.
Get all jabbed first
Educational institutions, whether schools or colleges, must be opened after ensuring Covid vaccination of all. The authorities must obtain proof of vaccination from each and every student before allowing entry. We know that the third wave is on its way and in some regions, it has already arrived. The government must ensure vaccination for each and every child in the country, only then a decision regarding opening schools should be taken. Also, necessary arrangements must be ensured before opening educational institutions.
Mental health affected
The peak of the third wave is expected somewhere in winters and the studies of the children have already suffered a lot. The loss is almost irreparable. Above all, the situation has taken a toll on the children’s psychological health. So, schools should be re-opened at the earliest but with full precautions. Parents and teachers should strive to imbibe Covid-appropriate behaviour in the children.
Dr Sunil Chopra
Wait before deciding
On the one hand, experts say that the upcoming third wave of Covid would be more harmful for children while on the other hand governments are re-opening schools. Until or unless it is declared that Covid has vanished completely, schools must not be re-opened. Also, kids and youth below 18 years of age have not even been vaccinated. We all need to stay home and help the nation cope up with the circumstances. We should keep in mind that though situation is getting back to normal, we still need to wear mask and sanitize regularly. We should avoid going to public places until it is absolutely necessary.
Open schools on rotation
Learning from our past mistakes, we cannot afford to neglect the threat of the third wave of Covid. Now, amid reports that the third wave is going to hit very soon and will largely target children, our state government has decided to re-open schools and colleges. But we should also consider the fact that after the third wave, things are not going to be normal as it was before Covid. Hence, we need to cope up with the current challenges. Education is important and we cannot underestimate its significance. Therefore, it is not a bad idea to re-open schools with proper guidelines and precautions. Schools can be re-opened in rotational manner, like odd-even concept, to avoid mass presence of students.
Must exercise caution
The decision to re-open schools is risky. Students below 18 years of age are not yet vaccinated against Covid-19. So, they need to follow all precautions, like wearing double mask and sanitising hands regularly. But even a little carelessness could be disastrous. So, it totally depends on students to study responsibly and stay safe or suffer from circumstances of the pandemic.
Can be ‘super spreaders’
The offline mode of study enables direct interaction between the teachers and students. Teachers can pay equal attention to every student in the class. But in such unprecedented times that we are witnessing, offline teaching is the only option. Also, the decision to open school seems a little rushed and negligent. Gatherings like that could act as ‘super spreaders’, especially as youth and children under 18 year of age have not been vaccinated yet. The government must strictly follow precautions towards kids as they are the future of the nation.
Open colleges first
Schools must remain closed as children are prone to get infected because they are not vaccinated. Only higher educational institutions should be opened and only the vaccinated students should be allowed to attend the same to prevent the spread of Covid.
Not a wise decision
Since experts are warning of the third wave of Covid, it is not at all advisable to re-open educational institutions, especially schools, as these can become hotspots for Covid-19 cases. When the first wave was almost over, schools were re-opened for senior classes in many states and that was one of the reasons for the second wave. Till every student and teacher gets inoculated, educational institutions should remain shut. But the government can improve the quality of online education to tap the interest of students. Instead of being dull and mundane, these should be made more interactive.
Open with 50 pc strength
As we all know, students have been trapped in their houses since March 2020. Online education cannot be a substitute for physical classrooms. Now, when the cases are at a low, the decision of reopening of school has been welcomed by all. This will prove to be a blessing in disguise as students will become more responsible and vigilant. The school authorities ought to follow all precautionary measures. Schools should be opened with 50 per cent strength. Students are expected to understand the gravity of the situation and behave accordingly. Nobody should be compelled to be present physically. There should be an option for online classes as well.
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