In a shocking development, a student of Class 12 in the Salem district, Tamil Nadu has tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection, pushing the school to close its premises. The development has come three days after the schools across the state were re-opened for classes 10 and 12 with the view of preparing the students for the upcoming board exams.
As per the announcement of the Tamil Nadu government, the schools across the state were re-opened on January 19, after the Pongal holidays, for the students of class 10 and 12. The government has issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) concerning the resumption and directed the schools to strictly adhere to the procedures to ensure a safe and smooth resumption. However, when the state is into the third day of the resumption of schools, it has now witnessed a shocking development after a student tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to reports, a class 12 student studying in a government school in Salem has on Thursday tested positive for the viral infection following which the school has closed its premises till January 25. Along with the school, the hostel will also remain shut till Monday. The Salem district administration has instructed other 36 students of the same class to isolate themselves in their residencies and the administration has said that the students will also be tested if in case they develop positive symptoms.
The shocking development has come when the state government was strongly criticized by the educationalists and activists for its decision to re-opening the schools for classes 10 and 12. In its drive to re-open the schools, the Tamil Nadu government had conducted a meeting with the parents of the students of these two classes to obtain their views and opinions of whether or not to resume the schools. The meeting was held in every school across the state and the government said 90% of the parents had agreed to re-open the schools.
Following the consents from a majority of parents, the government had announced that the schools for classes 10 and 12 will be re-opened on January 19 while the fullest resumption of the schools will be done in a phased manner. The government had directed the schools to follow the SOPs including making thermal screening and wearing masks on the premises of schools. The management of schools should arrange for hand wash facilities along with soap and water, and sanitizers should be provided and the government directed the schools to clean and disinfect their premises including furniture at regular intervals.
According to the SOP, the students with co-morbidities, employees at higher risk, older employees, pregnant employees, and employees who are underlying medical conditions should be advised to follow strict precautions, and the schools are also instructed to ensure the availability of key supplies like thermal scanners, disinfectants, soaps, and other essentials and the schools are asked to avoid assemblies, sports, and cultural events and no period of Physical Education shall be allowed while the stakeholders were also asked to observe a minimum of six-feet social distancing at the premises.