Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, November 6
Within two days of Andhra Pradesh allowing schools to reopen, the state is faced with a crisis situation after 575 students and 829 teachers tested positive for COVID-19.
The authorities are now in a fix as they were hoping to be more liberal with opening of schools if the test results came out positive. Only recently at the beginning of the month the schools had opened for Classes 9 and 10.
The state government started testing students from the first day of the classes on Monday, but the reports received by Thursday threw up large number of COVID-19 positive among the students and teachers across all 13 districts of the state. Official are now saying that those who tested positive had come to schools with infection rather than picking up the virus in school.
Education Minister Adimupalu Suresh said: “A task force has been set up. The standard operating procedures are strictly being followed. It is very unlikely that the teachers and the students can contract the virus while at school and have likely contracted the infection before reopening of the schools”.
Officials said 70,790 teachers and 95,763 children have been tested for coronavirus in the state so far. Although the number of teachers and students who tested positive for virus comprise of less than one per cent of the total number of teachers and students, the results have caused huge concerns among the state officials, who were considering opening schools for more classes.
Commissioner of School Education V Chinna Veerabhadrudu said that teachers were tested before the opening of the schools, but they were allowed to attend school while awaiting the test results.
“There are certain messages going around in WhatsApp stating that there is an increase of coronavirus cases after the schools reopened. Those messages were referred to the District Educational Officers concerned, who, after verifying, found that they are not genuine,” he said.
Official sources said that 99.92 per cent of the high schools have resumed for Classes 9 and 10 in a phased manner where students attended classes every other day.
Veerabhadrudu said: “On the whole, schools are running in a safe environment and with all due precautions. The entire machinery of School Education Medical & Health departments in the district is vigilant. There is an encouraging and positive response among the students and teachers for continuing the teaching-learning activity in the schools”.
“We are also monitoring the situation in every district very closely along with respective District Collectors. Wherever positive cases are detected the concerned teacher or student is advised not to attend the school and to immediately report to the district administration and take treatment as per the COVID-19 protocols,” Rajsekhar Budithi, Principal Secretary of School Education Department has said.