There is a significant decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. Importantly schools have resumed. However there are still some institutions which have restricted the number of students to half on a particular day. Some schools have devised a mechanism of having half of students for three consecutive days and the other half for subsequent three days. Such disturbing mechanisms should now be done away with.
It is important in view of the decision by the Centre to end all Covid-19 curbs across the country from March 31 in view of the continuous dip in infections. Importantly, schools and colleges can resume offline classes without any restrictions. There will be no restrictions on attendance in shopping malls, gyms, sports complexes, bars, restaurants, movie theatres and religious places. Offices, both government and private, can resume without any capacity restrictions. Public transport can also operate without any cap on seating.
There have been significant learning losses and at the cost of repetition, schools have remained closed in Jammu and Kashmir, more than in any part of India or globe. While the pandemic forced the closure of educational institutions in mid-March in 2020 when the virus was declared a pandemic around the world, the schools, colleges and universities had reopened after seven-month closure in the wake of the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019.
Even when reopened, attendance at educational institutions remained voluntary as the guidelines by the government of India then specified that parents can decide what their wards should do. Most parents gave consent and school resumption seemed uninterrupted until covid-19 announced an unpleasant return.
Since then though, the situation has improved considerably. Schools have now reopened. The excessive caution is now harming students and as such efforts must be done to reopen the schools fully. This is the message by the centre also.
The government has rightly emphasized that vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the Covid pandemic. The government needs to create awareness and boost confidence among the people, especially among the parents of the eligible children, to get vaccinated. A significant portion of the population in J&K is still without vaccination. And they remain most vulnerable. There is a need to ensure that more and more people take the vaccine. All efforts shall be made by authorities to urge people to take the jabs and maintain guard against the pathogen.