Calling their teachers 'Corona Warriors' who kept the momentum of classes going despite the pandemic forcing school closures, several private schools are helping them get inoculated by booking slots at government vaccination centres, paying for their shots at private facilities and some even bearing their travel expenses for visiting the centres.
While the schools say the drive right now is for staff above the age of 45 years, in accordance with the government guidelines, they will cover their remaining staff too once the lower age bracket is eligible.
"In consideration to the sheer dedication and dexterity with which our teachers have supported us throughout the difficult year of 2020, the school considers them no less than frontline workers. In order to assure them complete safety and extend them support in terms of healthcare, the school has been conducting the vaccination drive in the first 10 days of April for the staff members who stand eligible according to the government guidelines," said Rajat Goel, Director, MRG School, Rohini.
Alka Kapur, Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, said, "Besides doctors and professional frontline workers, the teaching fraternity is most vulnerable to the risk of contracting the virus. Their duty requires them to come into contact with people of all ages at their workplace".
"With the ongoing board practicals and examinations, they also have to come into contact with the students. Hence, they must have a shield of vaccination to safeguard themselves from the dreaded disease. This is why we have booked the vaccination slots for our 40 eligible staff members at the dispensary near to our campus," she added.
Orchids-The International School, a chain of over 40 schools across the country, has announced to provide complete financial assistance to its 4,000 staff members for receiving the vaccination.
According to Kavita Chatterjee, Member of Management Committee (Principals), the school management will sponsor the entire cost, including travelling to the location and close to 4,000 teaching and non-teaching staff members will be provided with 100 per cent financial assistance for getting the vaccination.
"While we are following all protocols mentioned by the government such as temperature checks and sanitisation, we believe vaccination is the best safety measure against COVID-19. We have always put the safety of the staff members, students and their families at the heart of every decision, and hence recommend the vaccination strongly. Of course, prior consent will be taken from each staff member to ensure that they have 100 per cent control over the decision," she said.
Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram, said, "We are all aware that COVID-19 has entered its second wave in India. At such a difficult time, ensuring the safety of our staff is of utmost importance. Therefore, the management is in process of discussion to conduct a vaccination drive for the teaching and non-teaching staff in a structured manner in just few days".
"Currently, we have initiated the process of taking feedback from our staff on how comfortable they are in getting vaccinated, post approval we will begin arranging the rest of framework for vaccination drive," she said.
The efforts for vaccination of school teachers come amid a surge in coronavirus cases which has prompted a few states to postpone reopening of schools in new academic session.
According to Seema Kaur, Principal, Pacific World School, "Amid a global pandemic disrupting everyone's lifestyle and giving them a health scare, the best aid that as a school we could extend is hosting a vaccination drive for our senior staff members. We are planning to do the same, but since the vaccines are not readily available we will have to figure out a proper methodology to carry it effectively".
"Our staff has shown immense dedication during lockdown, and it becomes our duty to provide them with a safety net during these unprecedented difficult times. With COVID cases rising, the best manner to make them feel secured is by organizing a vaccination drive. We are currently figuring out the entire process to host this vaccination drive for our staff aged 45 years and above. If everything goes well, we will soon be able to conduct the drive," said Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS RNE Ghaziabad.
India on Sunday recorded 93,249 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day rise so far this year, which took the total COVID-19 cases to 1,24,85,509, according to Union health ministry data.
This is the biggest daily rise in cases since September 19, when 93,337 fresh infections were recorded.
While schools were closed in all states from last April to September, a few states started with partial reopening from October onwards. However, some of them have again started closing schools briefly in view of the surge in cases.