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High-level panel recommends Karnataka reopen schools in staggered manner

ANI | Updated: Jun 22, 2021 19:37 IST

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], June 22 (ANI): A high-level committee constituted by the Karnataka government to analyse, advice and control COVID-19 third wave in the state has recommended reopening schools in the state in a staggered manner, first for senior students with on-campus classes.
The committee, headed by cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty, on Tuesday submitted a 91 page report to the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
The report noted that there was no evidence that schools can become the spreading house of virus. The committee also said that proper scientific guidelines for the reopening of schools need to be taken without any further delay in order to achieve normalization, otherwise it will be more problematic that the pandemic itself.
The committee also suggested announcing at least Rs 2 lakh compensation for each student, in case anything happens, in order to encourage students to attend classes on campus and the parents to send their children back to schools again.
Recruitment of medically equipped nurses and counselors in schools has also been suggested by the committee.
The classes need to be separated out into different days and shifts in order to avoid crowding and maintaining proper social distancing, it said.
The committee said it made the recommendations after a long discussion with the panel members and the experts.
They also expressed their concern over malnutrition of students if the situation continues, since many rely on mid-day meals. This might trigger child labour, child marriages and other social issues in rural areas, said the committee.
One committee member thus pointed out that bringing back students physically to schools will cater to their physical and mental well-being.
Underlining the possibility of a third wave, more than 23,000 students would require hospitalization and over 6,800 students would need ICU beds, as per the assumption of the committee.
Over 43,000 children may need COVID care centres, said the committee.
It has been estimated that 2.3 crore children under the age of 18 years might get infected during the peak of the third wave in case that occurs and a total 3.4 lakh students might contract the virus.
According to the Union Health Ministry, Karnataka has 123156 active cases of COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, the state has recorded 26,54,139 recoveries and 34,025 deaths. (ANI)