Having closed all educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir till June 15, the administration has asked directors of School Education Department Kashmir and Jammu to instruct the heads of government schools to provide all necessary items to the students in the schools. They have been asked to provide a pair of reusable masks and pair of gloves besides ensuring one 1000ml bulk hand sanitizers and 1200ml liquid soap with disperser at every point in each school. The latest order to reopen the schools in the near future has come up at a time when Jammu and Kashmir has seen a spurt in COVID-19 cases, crossing 2600. The schools and other educational institutions were closed when cases were in single digit. It was thought to be wise to keep the children home in epidemic, considering them being efficient spreaders of diseases such as seasonal flu.
The lockdown announced by the government subsequent to closure of the schools was considered to be a move to slow the spread of the disease but the surge in cases point to the success being only modest. However, the government’s latest decision alluding to the resumption seems irrational as children could be highly susceptible to Covid-19.
There are arguments in support of keeping the schools shut suggesting that conclusions in the surveys that COVID-19 is not hitting children are based on small samples. However, many people are of the opinion that children have not been seen to transmit the disease because schools were shut early and they will start to spread it once they intermingle in classrooms and the playground.
The plain fact is that shutting the schools brings benefits as Covid-19 can be deadly. Parents would be very reluctant to allow their children to school amid danger of their loved ones catching the virus and transmitting it to their family.
While it is always better to re-open schools, so that parents can earn and children can study, the moot question remains: Is the time appropriate for it? The answer is not all that easy for the government but reopening the schools should never be a rash experiment, the one which would put young lives to risk.