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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Chandigarh: ‘Random, periodic, Covid testing on school campuses is the way ahead’

While strict measures and norms are in place for social distancing and Covid-appropriate behaviour, some schools in Punjab have reported students testing positive for Covid.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
August 12, 2021 7:41:25 am
Children are not only at a risk of getting infected, but also passing on the infection, and the only tool of prevention is regular testing and wearing masks, said the doctor. (Representational)

CHANDIGARH’S government schools re-opened on July 19 for senior classes, with private schools also welcoming students soon after, with the consent of parents mandatory for students to attend classes on campus.

While strict measures and norms are in place for social distancing and Covid-appropriate behaviour, some schools in Punjab have reported students testing positive for Covid.

With children below the age group of 18 not vaccinated, and now stepping out of their homes and interacting with others, random testing on school campuses, not once, but every week or 10 days, says Prof Rakesh Kochhar, Department of Gastroenterology, PGI, is important to check for any infection and subsequent rise in cases.

“The testing for both students and staff must be done periodically, and all must be included, for the baseline could be 1 per cent one week, and 3 per cent the next week. Community sampling is an important tool and representative of the current rate of infection.”

Children are not only at a risk of getting infected, but also passing on the infection, and the only tool of prevention is regular testing and wearing masks, added the doctor.

With a high fluctuation in the number of cases in the country, we have to be on guard, as in the rest of the world cases are increasing, despite a high rate of vaccination. “Till now, trials are on for vaccines for children, and if schools and colleges have to operate without any glitches, random, periodic checking is the way ahead,” he summed up.

“Random testing for school students is important and the project is in the pipeline and we should start testing on school campuses soon. When the vaccination was opened to people above 18 years, we organised special camps for government school staffers so that both students and staff can be safe when schools and colleges open,” says Dr V K Nagpal, Medical Superintendent, GMSH-16 and Joint Director, Health.

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