Only 4 per cent parents in Karnataka feel schools are complying with social distancing norms

The survey received 38,000 responses from parents residing in 388 districts across the country. The study was conducted by LocalCircles, a social media platform
Image for representation | Pic: Express
Image for representation | Pic: Express

Though a majority of schools in Karnataka are complying with the mask norm effectively, a study among parents of children who are attending offline classes now has raised concerns about poor indoor ventilation, eating in classrooms and schools conducting assemblies in indoor spaces. The findings of the study, conducted by LocalCircles, a social media platform, will be handed over to the key stakeholders in the Central Government and Chief Secretaries of all states so that the inputs shared by parents can be considered to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread and more parents start sending their children to schools.

Experts have stressed the need for the classrooms to have good ventilation to prevent COVID spread. It was found that 33% of classes do not have windows nor have air purifiers in classrooms. The survey received 38,000 responses from parents residing in 388 districts across the country. It found that 84% of parents whose children are now going to school say mask compliance is effective while only 70% feel social distancing, hygiene, sanitation compliance is effective.

To a question on what parameters the child’s school is complying effectively, 48% of respondents in Karnataka said masking, social distancing, hygiene and sanitation. Another 18% said masking and social distancing while only 4% said the school complied with social distancing norms, the study found. While studies have proved and previous experiences from schools in countries like the UK and the US have shown that it is very risky to have lunch breaks, and despite the Karnataka government asking schools to avoid lunch breaks, the study found 43% of children having snacks/lunch in classrooms in Karnataka.

“A total of 31% of children have shorter school hours, so there is no snack/lunch break. While 21% are eating outdoors, 43% are consuming food indoors in Karnataka’s schoools,” the survey found. Meanwhile, speaking to The New Indian Express, Dr Preethi Galgali, Consultant Paediatrician and Adolescent Health Specialist, and Director, Bengaluru Adolescent Care and Counselling Centre said, “The government must act on the study findings. Schools should be extra cautious about the arrangements they are making for children. It is not enough to enforce masking and sanitisation.

They must ensure adequate ventilation and social distancing. Keeping the number of students and schooling hours less is absolutely necessary,” she said. In Karnataka’s schools, the study found that 25% of schools are conducting assemblies outdoors with mask and social distancing, 14% at reduced frequency and 12% of schools are doing it indoors with safety measures and reduced frequency. Only 2% schools are still conducting assemblies without masking and social distancing, it said.

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