On March 1, schools reopened in Kashmir after two back-to-back lockdowns. COVID fears notwithstanding, schools recorded 80 percent attendance. School authorities expected attendance to improve further if the Valley does not see any major spurt in Covid-19 positive cases.
Luck however had other things in store. Barely a few days later, some schools announced the closure after some staff members contracted COVID 19. Schools reverted back to the online classes to avoid any spread of the infection. Students have been asked to stay home and join Zoom classes like they were doing last year.
Several schools decided to continue with online classes in March for students up to Class VIII. Some schools are also going for rotational online and offline classes in March. And others have decided to start offline classes below eight standard during the latter part of March.
This time, however, students did not face internet blues as the government has restored 4G in Jammu and Kashmir. One cannot be oblivious to the fact that sharing so much screen time has its own demerits and affects one’s health.
However, Covid 19 is a reality and new variants of the virus are giving sleepless nights to people across the world.
Jammu and Kashmir has 127288 positive cases. Of whom 899 are active positive and 124421have recovered. The death toll has reached 1968. Of whom 729 have died in the Jammu division and 1239 in the Kashmir division. Till March 10, 1369145 persons have been enlisted for observation. They include 31821 persons in-home quarantine, 899 in isolation, and 113019 in-home surveillance. Besides, 1221438 persons have completed their surveillance period. To date, 5462245 test results are available. Of which 5334957 samples have tested negative.
India’s Covid-19 tally stood at 1,12,44,786 with 15,388 fresh cases reported as of Tuesday morning. The death toll due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,57,930. Several states have gone for localized lockdowns to prevent the spread of the infection.
Amid the looming threat of a new wave, reopening schools was not a good idea in the first place. Parents had cautioned the authorities against reopening the schools in a hurried manner.
As the vaccination drive continues across the country, the government should include teachers on the priority list. So far health and front-line workers have been prioritized in the vaccination drive. It is high time that the teachers from both government and private sectors are vaccinated so that the education system is put back on the tracks. Plus there is a need to fine-tune the health protocols in schools. Schools and government need to think out of the box. Shift-wise schools and wearing masks are welcome. Yet the government should also take some more steps like avoiding overcrowding in the buses and vans. Transporters should be advised to sanitize buses and vans so that the kids remain safe.