Authorities claim only 0.5 per cent of the students have contracted COVID in the ten days since schools reopened in Telangana

Schools are gradually shutting down online classes, compelling students to return to school despite parents being anxious about the safety of their wards
Image for representation | Pic: Express
Image for representation | Pic: Express

Dispelling fears of students contracting COVID-19, Telangana Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G Srinivasa Rao, on Monday, said that it was safe to send children to school. Speaking to the media, he said that COVID had not affected school-going children as feared. “From the day the schools were reopened, around 1.10 lakh kids studying in 3,200 schools across the State were tested and just 55 of them tested positive for the virus, which means the test positivity rate is less than 0.05 per cent among these children,” he pointed out.

He contended that only sporadic cases were reported from schools across the State and that there were no instances of any outbreak. “We have taken due caution while operating schools. We have asked each district to monitor children. This has helped us nip any infection in the bud. It has been about a fortnight since schools have been reopened and we would like to assure parents that their kids are safe,” he said.

The DPH also stated that children are naturally shielded from COVID-19 due to lack of ACE receptors onto which the virus latches itself. Speaking about students’ attendance, he said: “In government schools, around 50 per cent of the students are attending classes, while the attendance is about 20-30 per cent in private schools.”           

The Standard Operating Procedures released by the Director of School Education had said that if students wish to continue studying from home, they should be given the option to do so. However, despite the State government’s multiple directions to not force students to attend physical classes after the school reopening, several schools in the city are now forcing students to attend physical classes by shutting down online classes. Many parents have raised objections against the move.

Alka’s (name changed) daughter who studies at Mt Helicon Public school, in Hyderabad told Express, “My daughter is in Class VII, and is forced to go to school, only because the school has shut the online class option. We were reluctant to send her, but now have no option.”

A parent, whose kids study at Akshara Vaagdevi International School in Secunderabad, claimed that the school has informed them that from September 17, there will be no further online classes and students will have to come for physical classes. “I have decided to not send my child back to school even if the school stops online classes. For me their safety comes first. I am not alone, many parents do not want to send their children to school,” said another parent to Express.

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