Kerala to await Centre's nod before reopening primary schools

Thiruvananthapuram: Even though the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended the reopening of primary schools, the Kerala government is unlikely to take a decision in a haste considering the still-alarming state of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The education department has taken a stand that it would decide on the matter only after getting official communication from the central government. Prior to that high-level discussions would be held on the arrangments to be made for the reopening of primary schools.

The education department believes that in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state it would not be appropriate to open primary schools at this stage. The department would consider commencing classes with specific restrictions in areas where the spread of COVID-19 is less. The final decision, however, would be taken after examining the steps taken by other states in this direction.

"ICMR recommendation is welcome. However, the central government is yet to issue guidelines for reopening schools. Kerala is prepared to open  schools. As many as 7,000 teachers have been appointed newly. We have urged that teachers should be relinquished from COVID- 19 related responsibilities," stated V Sivankutty, Education Minister.

Schools across India are shut for over a year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other day Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director Dr Balram Bhargava 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.

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.


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