Vaccinate teachers on priority to enable school opening in July: COVID Task Force

Recommending priority vaccination of teachers and school staff, a COVID task force has said that a safe opening for the education sector could be done by July.

The Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force said in a report, “We strongly recommend that teachers and school staff are vaccinated on a priority basis.” “We recognize that in states with high rates of infections, it will not be possible to open schools immediately, especially in the context of clusters of infections in and around hostels. However, we believe that the next two months can be used to prepare the education sector for a safe opening in July 2021 for the next academic year,” it said.

The Task Force has issued a separate set of recommendations for safe reopening of schools.

“We strongly urge governments to consider the significant and potentially catastrophic losses in learning, especially for children from low-income families, that have already occurred due to extensive school closures, and to limit such instances as much as possible,” it said. On international travel, it recommended a mandatory seven-day institutional quarantine for all visitors arriving from other countries, with an RT-PCR test conducted on day eight, and the option of completing another week in home isolation if the test is negative. Local communities can be mobilized to ensure the effectiveness of home quarantines.

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