All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Friday suggested the reopening of schools in areas with a low COVID positivity rate. Dr Guleria said that graded reopening of schools can be done with proper monitoring of the areas with low Test Positivity Rate (TPR). The AIIMS Director said that the reopening is important to balance the education of children without access to computers.
Speaking about the importance of reopening schools, Dr Guleria said, "I think we have to balance things out. There is a number of children who have missed out on schools for a very long time as they do not have the access to computer and therefore, they are not able to get the quality of education. Therefore, having physical classes is important also schools are not only important from an education point of view, but for building a child's character for social interaction, for interaction with peers, the physical school has a much bigger role to play than what can be done through virtual classes."
Dr Guleria pointed out that India is now at a point where some places are reporting low cases. "Now, we are in a situation where in certain parts of the country the number of cases are very low, positivity rate is very low and hospitalisation is very low." Talking about the graded reopening of schools, Dr Guleria said, "We should start thinking of opening schools in a graded manner. In areas where the positivity rate is low, the graded opening can be done."
The health expert pointed out that the reopening can be done in a systematic manner. "We can do it in an alternate manner so that the crowd is less. We can do surveillance; children can be monitored. If they have any symptoms they can stay at home. If the positivity rate continues to be low schools can continue, if it rises then the school can be shut down," the AIIMS chief said.
Talking about the Delta plus variant of COVID, Dr Randeep Guleria pointed out that the variant is of concern. Dr Guleria said, "We need more data as far as the Delta plus is a concern. The Delta plus is still the lineage from the Delta variant so it is not a different new variant, and data currently does not say that it is more infectious because wherever Delta plus is reported has not seen a huge surge in the number of cases. Also, data does not suggest that it is causing more hospitalisation. I do not think that it is causing more disease and we need to monitor closely."
(With ANI Inputs)