Academicians appeal to Tamil Nadu govt for reopening of schools with precautionary measures

The educationists also claimed that scientific studies have shown that in-school transmission of the virus by children or teachers is lower compared to other locations such transmission can be lowered by taking normal public health precautions, including reasonable distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing and treating students, and teachers with symptoms.
Representative Image
Representative Image

Chennai

Expressing concern over the closure of schools in several states, academicians across the country, including in Tamil Nadu urged the State governments to reopen the institutions with adequate precautions as the lockdown will harm the children.
A total of 18 teachers forums in various states, including State Platform for Common School System - Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) and Right to Education Forum in Tamil Nadu under one umbrella -- "National Coalition on the Education Emergency" (NCEE) pointed out that schools have recently opened after remaining mostly closed since March 2020, with devastating consequences for the nutrition, health, and education of hundreds of thousands of children.
Claiming that child labour, early marriages, domestic violence have increased due to the closure of schools, academicians said that it was evident that the absence of structured learning opportunities has caused severe academic regression, young children have forgotten habits of learning, basic reading, and numeracy skills have been affected.
Stating that online education has not been possible or pedagogically meaningful for most children, the NCEE, in its appeal statement, undersigned by the academicians said: "It will continue to be a meaningless option".
The educationists also claimed that scientific studies have shown that in-school transmission of the virus by children or teachers is lower compared to other locations such transmission can be lowered by taking normal public health precautions, including reasonable distancing, wearing masks, sanitizing and treating students, and teachers with symptoms.
According to NCEE, across the world, schools have been mostly kept open, in some countries even throughout the pandemic. The evidence from South Africa and Europe confirms that there is no indication that the third wave is targeting children, which the head of the Indian Council of Medical Research has also emphasised earlier.
Most teachers have already been vaccinated and they should be in schools and not be deployed for Covid related tasks, for which governments should make alternate arrangements. Tamil Nadu for instance has deployed paid youth volunteers for community-related activities instead of deploying teachers.
NCEE further added that in-person attendance should be encouraged but not made compulsory, so that parents who do not want to send their children, are not forced to. Data on cases disaggregated by age, location, severity must be available on a daily basis.
Accordingly, schools must take adequate precautions, providing water and soap to ensure hygiene, with masks and reasonable physical distancing and classes should be conducted in the open wherever possible, or in well-ventilated rooms.

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