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Spike and schools

Dozens of school students have tested positive for coronavirus in the last few days rattling the parents who are now baffled whether or not to send their kids to attend physical classes. The administration which had announced earlier that schools will not be shut again too seem to be in a dilemma as the growing number of cases and the seemingly more virulent second wave of the pandemic is becoming a huge cause of concern. Day 1 of April saw the year’s highest spike in J&K with as many as 461 positive cases being detected pushing the number of active cases near 2,531 which otherwise were less than 600 a few weeks ago. Death tool too was pushed up with four more people falling prey to the disease. Of the new cases, 361 were from Kashmir alone. A few days ago, over 50 students in two schools in south Kashmir tested positive for the virus. In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, a Government Girls Higher Secondary School was closed for five days after a contractual teacher of the institution was declared positive for Covid-19 during a test drive held earlier this week. Moreover, two more schools in the district were also closed for four days after some staff members were declared positive for the virus. In Srinagar, Kothibagh Girls High School was closed till next Monday, after a teacher and a class IV employee tested positive for COVID-19. In Bandipora, N.M Boys Higher Secondary School, a teacher and a student tested positive for Covid-19 during a mass testing campaign which was held in the institution. These and many other instances came to the fore in which schools were closed as a precautionary measure to contain that spread of virus and all the teaching and non-teaching staff were asked to go into self-isolation. Such instances raise a question whether or not it is okay to continue with physical classes. The recent spike in cases is not witnessed just in Kashmir. It is happening across India even as some states are struggling with a huge number of fresh cases. In many cases, like that of Maharashtra, the situation is even worse than last year. One must also take into account the face that a child going to the school can easily bring the virus home and infect the old and the sick in the families. The chain has to be broken and one wonders if the government should take a call to halt classes for at least a few weeks till the situation as well as the daily numbers are brought under control.