Central Govt likely to issue advisory soon on reopening of schools


The central government is likely to issue an advisory soon on the reopening of schools as the vaccination drive against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for children aged 15 gathers pace. Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya has asked the National Expert Group to suggest ways on reopening the schools nationwide and work on the modalities, people familiar with the development said. "Covid-19 has affected children of all age groups. However, the mortality rate and severity of disease in children are negligible. Health experts believe that it is high time children return to schools," one of the people cited above said.

Physical classes have mostly remained shut since the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, with some states opening it partially amid widespread apprehensions among parents to send their unvaccinated kids to school. The Centre wants to reopen schools in a staggered manner after the Covid vaccination drive was opened up for children aged 15-17 amid the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

"However, it will be up to states to decide whether they are ready to open schools or not," a source said. India rolled out its vaccination drive for healthcare and frontline workers on January 16, 2021, and gradually opened up for all adults. The next phase of vaccinating adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years started from January 3, 2022, a week before additional ‘precaution doses’ for healthcare, frontline workers, and at-risk groups kicked off. More than one crore Covid booster doses for the identified categories of beneficiaries have been administered so far.

About 95% of the eligible population has been administered with the first dose of Covid-19, Mandaviya said on Thursday. As of Friday morning, India’s cumulative vaccination figure has crossed the 164.44 crore mark.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)