Are educational institutes becoming the new COVID-19 clusters?

Hyderabad: In the wake of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, educational institutes across the country have become breeding grounds for the infection to spread. With schools and colleges eyeing the offline mode and the threat of the new variant, there is a grave need to relook at whether offline education.

The current situation recalls parents’ anxieties as educational institutions reopened following the second wave. Parents have pointed out that it is far too early to reopen educational institutions, particularly schools, and that if the state reopens, it would be putting the lives of children who have not yet been vaccinated in danger. Thus, it is worthwhile to consider how the health of children can be protected while ensuring good quality education.

Reopening of educational institutes

Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, on November 3, called for restoring normalcy in educational institutions, with states/union territories subsequently deciding their own schedules for restarting offline classes.

Mumbai educational institutes shut amid Omicron variant threat

Currently, India is on high alert amid the Omicron variant threat, schools in Mumbai were supposed to resume from today but it will stay closed until December 15. Schools were supposed to resume after 20 months of severe COVID-19 precautions on December 1, but that has been postponed. This is part of the updated COVID-19 rules norms in response to the threat of the new COVID-19 variant omicron.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu educational institute shut due to air pollution and floods

When compared to other metropolitan cities in the country, like Delhi schools, colleges and other educational institutions are shut since Diwali due to air pollution and they will remain shut until further notice. Similarly in Tamil Nadu schools and various other educational institutes’ remained shut for the last 15 days due to floods and heavy rain furry.

COVID-19 cases reported in educational institute in West Bengal

The Sapphire Brahmachari Institution in West Bengal was closed today after two instructors tested positive for COVID-19. For both students and parents, the situation has become alarming. This comes only weeks after the government administration reopened schools after a two-year hiatus. The school management, however, was left with little choice but to reopen the institution when two teachers tested positive.

COVID-19 cases reported in educational institute in Odisha

Similarly, four days back a government school and medical college in Odisha reported 80 COVID-19 positive cases, this also comes only two weeks after the government administration reopened schools and other educational institutions after a long break.

COVID-19 cases reported in educational institute in Karnataka and Telangana

In the last eight days both Karnataka and Telangana reported 459 positive COVID-19 cases from various other educational institutions. A timeline of positive cases reported in educational institutes in the past eight days-

Timeline of COVID-19 cases in various educational institutes in Karnataka and Telangana

  • On November 22, as many as 29 students of a government-run residential school and junior college for girls in Telangana’s Khammam district were tested positive for COVID-19, triggering panic among the parents and teachers.
  • On November 26, thirty-three students and one staffer of an international boarding school in Bengaluru have tested positive for COVID-19. Following the outbreak, the government authorities have conducted COVID-19 tests on all 297 students and 200 staff members of the school.
  • On November 26, 182 students tested COVID-19 positive at the SDM Medical College in Karnataka’s Dharwad city. College sources said the students were infected after attending a function at an auditorium on the premises on November 17. About 200 students and a few parents had participated in the programme.
  • On November 27, the Mahindra University campus, located on the outskirts of Hyderabad, was placed under lockdown after 30 persons from the campus tested positive for COVID-19. The university later instructed all 1,700 students and faculty members to remain at home in isolation.
  • On November 27, 48 nursing students have tested positive for the contagion in Karnataka’s Mysuru district. The district administration confirmed the numbers stating that the infected students belong to two nursing colleges and contracted the virus in a week’s time.
  • On November 29, 42 students and one teacher of a government-run residential school for girls in Telangana’s Sangareddy district have tested positive for COVID-19. The cases came to light at Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Gurukul school at Muthangi village in Sangareddy district, about 50 km from Hyderabad.
  • On November 30, 13 students of Karnataka’s government-run residential hostel in Hassan and seven medical college students, including an internee, tested positive for COVID-19. Following the detection of positive cases at the Morarji Desai hostel of Guramaranahalli village in Channarayapatna taluk of Hassan and Chamarajanagar Medical Sciences Institute was sealed off by the authorities.
  • On December 1, in Mysuru district after 72 students from Kerala, undergoing nursing courses in the city, tested positive for COVID-19. Mysuru was one of the worst-hit districts in the state during the second wave of COVID-19.