4 schools closed as students, teachers test positive in north Kashmir

Representational Photo

There seems to be no let up in the COVID19 cases reported from schools in various districts across Kashmir. On Saturday, one school each was closed in the Sumbal area of Bandipora and Sopore area of Baramulla district after two students and three teachers tested positive in these two educational institutions.

Three students and four teachers tested positive in a school at Keegam area of Kupwara district while one student tested positive at a school in Lariganapora area of Langate in Kupwara district.

In wake of this, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Kupwara ordered closure of the two schools for five days and said the institutions will be allowed to re-open after doing proper fumigation of the schools.

Meanwhile, an official said three teachers and three students of a higher secondary school in Srinagar outskirts have tested positive as well.

“But the students have not been informed about the closure of the institutions which has left the students and their parents in a dilemma,” an official said.

As already reported, the government on Friday authorised Deputy Commissioners to take call on continuing the classes in the schools in their respective districts.

For the past few days, there has been a surge in positive cases in schools in district Budgam and some south Kashmir districts as well.

The spike in the COVID-19 cases reported from schools has made parents anxious about the safety of the students attending classes in schools.

“We are worried about the safety and health of our kids. Cases are rising with each passing day and it puts lives of students at risk. The government should take a decision about the schools before the situation takes an ugly turn,” said Asif Ahmad, a parent.

Meanwhile an official said the government was regularly holding deliberations on continuing the classes of students in schools. “As per the feedback received from schools, it is becoming difficult for teachers to make small children maintain proper social distance and follow other SoPs in primary schools,” the official said.

In view of the resurgence of the COVID-19 positive cases being reported from schools, the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) convened a virtual meeting with the CEOs and other field officers wherein concern was raised over non adherence to the CPOVID-19 SOPs.

The DSEK has impressed upon all Chief Education Officers (CEOs) and DIET principals to ensure that SOPs are followed in every school.

As already reported, the directorate has already put in place a 4-tier mechanism to supervise the COVID-19 in schools. “The department had given strict instructions to CEOs, DIET Principals to monitor adherence of COVID-19 SOPs in schools but the directions are not being strictly implemented in schools,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the CEO Kupwara in a circular has pulled up the Cluster Heads for their non-seriousness in the monitoring of the schools. “This amounts to dereliction to duty and playing with the life of staff and students as well as derailing the system. Any loss shall be the responsibility of the stakeholders and the erring officials shall not be spared,” reads a circular issued by CEO Kupwara. The circular instructions were also shared in various official Whatsapp groups of the district. The CEO has issued instructions to the ZEOs, Principals, Headmasters and Resource Persons to monitor at least two to three schools on a daily basis and submit the report to DSEK on a daily basis.

“The heads of the institutions should also constitute COVID-19 Task Teams consisting of teachers and volunteer students,” the circular reads.