The AP State Government has decided for reopening of schools from 16 August 2021. A recent survey, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), states that children can handle viral infections much better than adults. ICMR Director General, Balram Bhargava, has advised all states to start schools with primary classes, later to open for secondary classes as well. On this, District Education Officials are yet to receive guidelines on which classes are to begin their offline classes first. Also, the decision to start schools is based on the decline of the Covid-19 positivity rate and present vaccination status in Vizag.
According to the ICMR Director, children can handle a viral infection better than adults and it has been observed that young children have lower numbers of Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 receptors in their lung cells. The antibody exposure seen in this sero survey, by ICMR, among children is very similar to adults, indicating that the bodies of children are more adept at handling viral infections.
Currently, all the schools in Andhra Pradesh are conducting online classes for LKG to Class X. Prior to the reopening of schools, all the teaching, and non-teaching, staff of the government and private schools in AP are to be vaccinated on priority basis. According to the Visakhapatnam District Education Officer (DEO), Mr. B Lingeswara Reddy, there are around 24,000 staff in both government and private schools who have to be vaccinated. The Andhra Pradesh Education Department is working towards getting all the staff vaccinated before schools reopen in the state. “So far, all the teachers in government and private schools have been instructed to get vaccinated immediately. Meanwhile, we are awaiting guidelines from the State Government on which classes are to open first on 16 August”, said the DEO.
On this issue, many parents are worried about sending their children to schools, as children are reportedly more vulnerable to the third wave of the pandemic. Though the third wave hasn’t arrived yet in the city, the fact that Covid-19 cases are still being reported is a matter of concern. Many parents opine that similar to some of the other countries, which have been vaccinating children, Andhra Pradesh State Government should also start vaccinating school-going children on priority.