India has been witnessing a drop in fresh Covid cases over the last few weeks after the daily cases hit a global record high with 4.14 lakh infections on May 7. Even as many states are unlocking, experts have warned about a third Covid wave, which is likely to hit the country soon.
Amid concerns that children may get affected by the new wave, NITI Aayog's Dr VK Paul on Friday answered questions about the reopening of schools at the Health Ministry's briefing. "A lot of things need to be considered while deciding on the reopening schools. This is a question that keeps coming up," he told reporters.
Explaining that various factors need to be considered before taking the decision, he said: "As vaccination coverage widens, teachers get vaccinated, we change habits and implement social distancing in everyday lives... there should come a time when this can happen."
"But we should also remember that in many countries schools reopened then outbreaks were reported and they had to shut them down again. We don't want to put our children and teachers in that situation unless we have more confidence that the pandemic won't harm us. Discussion on reopening of schools remains a part of the larger discourse but information that sero prevalence remain equal among children will be useful data," he further added, suggesting that more data need to be considered.
Earlier this month, the CBSE board exams were cancelled for Class 12. "The health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and there will be no compromise on this aspect," read a statement from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office, quoting him. On Friday, the CBSE said it is developing a system to assist schools in preparation of Class 12 results and asked schools to keep students' records ready.
With many states preparing for the third wave, stepping up vaccination drive is one of the key concerns. On Friday, the government said, studies show the risk of hospitalisation due to COVID-19 falls by 70-80 per cent if a person is vaccinated.
AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria told NDTV today that the third wave could hit India in the next six-eight weeks.