Srinagar: As the experts are warning about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 reaching Kashmir, the Education Department is gearing up to reopen the schools in the Valley.
The caution being sounded by the experts has evoked concern among the parents, who have been asked to keep their children prepared. “If the fears about the second wave come true it can lead to schools turning into COVID-19 hotspots,” said, a parent.
He said, “If the government is so keen on reopening the schools then it should ensure that children are vaccinated before they return to the educational institutions.”
It is in place to mention here that Head of Chest Disease Hospital Dr Naved Nazir Shah on Thursday warned against a second wave, saying indications in this regard have started to come. “Beware and cautious … Indications of second wave beginning to come.. Maharashtra/Kerala starting to heat up again … TAKE VACCINE whosoever gets an opportunity and TAKE PRECAUTIONS…” he said in a tweet.
The educational institutions, according to the plan that has been devised, will work on odd-even formula. “The enrollment in schools is huge and it looks impossible that children will follow the COVID-19 protocol. We have been waiting for the past more than one and a half year to send our children back to school. We can wait for some more time. Sending children without vaccination to schools is a difficult ask. Not many parents will be ready for it,” said a parent.
According to the guidelines issued by the government the COVID-19 Standard Operation Procedures (SOP’s) shall be followed in letter and spirit in addition to suggestions of District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA). “The students can sit almost two meters apart from each other. In case of non-availability of such space, staggered schedule or shift timings and student rotation can be an option. All students and teachers should wear masks,” the guidelines stated.
“Hand washing points with proper soap should be made available for the students and teachers. Everybody should wash hands frequently maintaining proper physical distance. Safe water, cleaning supplies and, wherever possible, establish or expand sex segregated toilets or latrines. In case of absence of washing stations, hand sanitizers of standard prescribed by the government should be used as hand rub (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer). Touching of surfaces by the students and teachers in and around the area of the school should be prohibited,” the guidelines stated.
A parent said, “The guidelines are not enough. Sanitizers and masks cannot be a substitute to COVID-19 jabs. If the government wants to reopen the schools then it should make vaccines available and get the students vaccinated in schools itself.”