By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], August 31 (ANI): Welcoming the decision of several states to allow re-opening of schools with restrictions, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has termed it a positive step but reiterated the need for strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
As COVID-19 cases continue to remain under the 50,000-mark for the past several weeks, IMD President Dr JA Jayalal said that this is the right time when government should come forward, take a calculated risk and open the schools.
"This is a positive move but strict protocol needs to be followed. This is a very complex decision which has to be taken. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been issued by the various state governments. All the teachers and the staff who are working in the school should be vaccinated and there should not be more than 20 to 30 students in a class," the IMA president told ANI.
"So, I think though this is an experiment that really we are trying. This is worth doing. Considering the possibility of spread, the risk is quite negligible at this moment unless something very catastrophic events taking place. This is the right time when government should come forward, take a calculated risk and open the schools in an appropriate way," he said.
Pointing that that IMA has its branches in states and Union Territories, Dr Jayalal said that that the medical body is also studying the reports related to the COVID-19 cases after the reopening of schools.
"We do get some reports from states, we are studying them. But whether it (spike in COVID-19 cases) is exclusively due to the only after the opening up the school is not very well established," he said.
According to some source-based reports, Punjab and Bihar have seen a spike in positivity rate, but some states like Maharashtra and Jharkhand have witnessed a decline in cases after schools reopened.
Some states that have opened schools with 50 per cent occupancy and other COVID-related restrictions have seen a rise in the positivity rate among children up to 17 years of age.
According to the data, the infection rate among children in July and August shows that states like Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have seen a spike in the positivity rate after the reopening of schools. (ANI)