The attendance of students in schools is encouraging and it reflects the interest of the students in attending offline classes and willingness of their parents to send their wards for classroom teaching, Education Minister Adimulapu Suresh told The Hindu on Tuesday.
The Minister was responding to a query on the serious observations made by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on reopening of schools while the COVID-19 pandemic was still prevalent.
While directing the State government to vacate the village/ward secretariats and Rythu Bharosa Kendras from the premises of government schools, the High Court on Tuesday said their presence could result in spread of the Coronavirus.
The court asked the government as to how it could allow reopening of schools at a time when the pandemic was still prevalent and wondered who would take the responsibility if the students were infected with the virus.
The Minister, however, cited 85% attendance of students in all government schools, and maintained that the elaborate arrangements made by the government in line with COVID protocol on school campuses had given confidence to children and their parents to attend offline classes. “Only in a few primary sections of certain private schools, the attendance is slightly low,” he said, adding: “The classes have already commenced amidst a series of precautions needed to keep the virus at bay.”
The Minister said schools where more than 10 children tested positive for COVID-19 virus were being closed down. “We have a few such schools in Krishna, Chittoor, Prakasam and Nellore districts. To prevent further spread of the pandemic, we are shutting down such schools besides extensively conducting the Covid tests,” he said.
Referring to the timeline of the possible outbreak of the third wave of the pandemic, he said October, November and December would be difficult months. “We cannot afford to lower our guard and will remain alert,” he said.
Mr. Suresh said if and when the third wave hits, there would be no other option but to move the classes to online mode. “We may not be able to reach out to 100% students, but we will explore all possible modes to continue the learning process. Telecast of classroom lessons through TV channels would be one option, like we did during the first wave of the pandemic,” he said.