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Karnataka: 17 students contract Covid-19 in Chikkamagaluru residential school, fourth cluster identified in one week

Residents of the hostel at Morarji Desai Model Residential School in Sarapanahalli have been diagnosed with Covid-19. Earlier this week, 28 students were diagnosed with Covid-19 at a pre-university college in Mandya.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: October 3, 2021 7:18:28 pm
schools covid, karnataka schools covidThe Karnataka government permitted schools and pre-university colleges to conduct classes at 100% capacity from Friday. Representative image. (Express File Photo by Rohit Jain Paras)

With a fresh Covid-19 cluster identified at a residential school in Chikkamagaluru, the number of educational institutions from where similar incidents were reported in Karnataka during the last week alone has risen to four.

The latest addition to the list is Morarji Desai Model Residential School in Sarapanahalli, where 17 students who were residents of the hostel in the campus were diagnosed with the infection, Chikkamagaluru District Surveillance Officer (DSO) Dr Manjunatha H K said.

“Samples were drawn from a total of 170 inmates of the school hostel and sent for RT-PCR testing as per directions from the district administration, in a random manner. Officials were earlier instructed to test at least 10 per cent students from educational institutions as part of our heightened surveillance measures to keep Covid-19 spread in check,” he told the indianexpress.com.

However, only two students — aged 15 and 16 — were identified to be symptomatic with no staff members contracting the infection, he added. Medical officers and health department staff deployed on the campus to oversee the situation have ensured that the students who have tested positive were isolated in rooms at a different block away from the other parts of the hostel with none permitted to leave the campus at least for a week, officials claimed.

Further, Dr Manjunatha clarified that students were not allowed to leave for their homes based on their parents’ demands. “This would unnecessarily lead to the number of primary contacts rising and to a possibility that the infection is spread to more people. We will test all of them again on the seventh day, after which advice will be given to the school authorities on what steps can be taken then,” he said.

Meanwhile, health officials are also trying to ascertain the source of the infection as none of the students were from outside the state. “Most of the students are from Chikkamagaluru district itself. The campus has been declared a containment zone and all academic work has been suspended for at least a week,” the DSO added.

According to school authorities, all students had submitted negative RT-PCR test reports when they returned to the campus from their homes nearly 20 days ago. “We have been keeping a close watch on each student since they arrived and had ensured all our staff members were vaccinated prior to them entering our campus,” a senior staff member of the school said.

The official added that the school was functioning like a Covid Care Centre with the support of the health department and that all guidelines were being followed to ensure a speedy recovery of all diagnosed with the infection. “We have promised parents not to panic as their children are being given proper care and attention here. We have decided not to send their wards back until the health officials permit us to do so,” the staff member explained.

Earlier this week, 28 students were diagnosed with Covid-19 at a pre-university college in Mandya after a student tested positive.

Earlier, Covid-19 clusters were reported from Bengaluru and Kolar as officials of the health and education departments were instructed to heighten surveillance measures and to conduct random tests in educational institutions, with a focus on those with residential facilities. While 60 students tested positive in the hostel of Sri Chaitanya PU and CBSE College located near Electronics City Phase 2 in Bengaluru, 12 students of Chinmaya High School in Kolar had contracted the infection.

Meanwhile, as the Karnataka government permitted schools (from Class 6) and pre-university colleges to conduct classes at 100 per cent capacity from Friday, the average attendance noted across the state was 60.5 per cent.

As per attendance reports compiled by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, the highest attendance (state average) for offline classes were reported among Class X students (65.20%) while the least was among Class VIII students (57.60%).

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