'No harm in restarting Classes 1 to 5 first': ICMR chief bats for reopening schools

New Delhi: After remaining shut for over a year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across India are awaiting the nod to reopen.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director Dr Balram Bhargava has suggested a phased reopening with primary schools commencing classes first.

“There is nothing wrong with opening schools in India now. Children are less vulnerable to Covid than adults and therefore, students in classes 1 to 5 can be allowed to attend school first,” he explained.

The previous stance of the authorities was that senior students should first go to schools. Accordingly, several states had resumed classes for Standard 10 to 12 towards the fag end of the last academic year (2020-21).

However, ahead of the reopening of schools all teachers and non-teaching staff should be fully vaccinated. The state governments have to take a final call on this, the ICMR chief suggested.

Earlier, Dr Randeep Guleria, the director of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), had suggested that schools could be opened in areas where the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of COVID-19 was below 5 per cent.

With the ICMR chief too endorsing renewal of normal educational activities schools across India could be opened without much delay.

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