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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

At least 30 students, teachers test positive for Covid-19 since reopening of schools in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu chief secretary will chair a meeting with district collectors through video-conferencing on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: September 8, 2021 3:04:08 pm
Chennai CovidStudents of Nungambakkam Girls Higher Secondary School in Chennai adhere to Covid-19 norms on Wednesday. (Express photo)

Since schools reopened for students of classes IX-XII on September 1, there are reports of at least 30 students and teachers testing positive for Covid-19 from across Tamil Nadu. The state chief secretary will chair a meeting with district collectors through video-conferencing on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.

For the reopening of schools, Covid-19 safety guidelines were issued by the state public health department and all teaching and non-teaching staff as well as students were asked to strictly adhere to the protocols. Despite these stringent measures, reports of students and teachers testing positive started coming in within two days after the premises were reopened.

Among those who tested positive for Covid-19 are a Class X student of Tiruchengode Government School in Namakkal district, a Class IX student of a private school in Jayakondam and three Class IX students of a government higher secondary school at Sultanpet in Coimbatore.

After the reports came in, these schools were temporarily closed and a disinfection exercise carried out.

In Chennai’s Alwarpet area, a private school was closed after a Class X student tested positive. The school management carried out a contact tracing exercise. But 103 people, including teachers, non-teaching staff and students of the school, tested negative.

As per the guidelines, health department officials have been conducting random sample tests in schools. In certain cases, classrooms are sanitised and there were reports of schools being shut until further orders.

The situation has been similar for teachers as well. A secondary-grade teacher in Cuddalore tested positive on September 2 and had to be hospitalised. The district collector said there was no face-to-face interaction between this teacher and students of this school.

Similarly, four other government school teachers tested positive in Tiruppur while three others are down with Covid-19 in Tiruvannamalai. Similar cases have been reported from schools in districts like Chengalpet, Karur and Salem cases.

In Puducherry, sources said 20 students have tested positive. The list includes 16 students of a nursing college and four Class XII students of a government higher secondary school in Karyamputhur.

Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Dr Selva Vinayagam, the Director of Public Health, said since campuses reopened, only one per cent of the students have tested positive. A team of healthcare personnel are monitoring the situation, he added.

“We have to take a risk at some point of time. There were concerns about children’s education and their social skills suffering. Hence, with all safety measures, we have reopened schools. One or two cases might be reported. But this is not just the case with schools, but also from communities, and other workplaces like industries. We have to maintain a balance and see to what extent we can carry on. If there is a surge in the number of cases, definitely we will take necessary action,” he said.

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