Updated: January 25, 2022 10:31:34 am
West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu on Monday said that while the state government was in favour of reopening schools in a phased manner to minimise the spread of Covid-19 but the final decision will be taken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “at the right time”.
Basu was speaking to reporters while inaugurating the education department’s new initiative ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ (Neighbourhood Classes).
Basu added that the government was mulling the option of reopening schools in a phased manner. “We want to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus among students. We will also take all measures to ensure their safety and security. We are considering the option of reopening the schools in multiple steps so that we can keep a check on the spread of the disease,” Basu said.
Meanwhile, the Kolkata police detained several SFI members after they demonstrated in favour of reopening of schools near Bikash Bhawan.
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Bengal’s Covid test positivity rate touched the lowest mark in two weeks on Monday, when it plunged to 8.84 per cent. On Sunday, it was 9.53 per cent.
Meanwhile, West Bengal registered a steep decline in its Covid-19 tally for the second consecutive day as 4,546 more people tested positive in the state – down from Saturday’s 6,980. The virus also claimed 37 more lives in Bengal in the past 24 hours, taking the state toll to 20,375.
Under the ‘Paray Shikshalaya’ initiative, classes will be conducted in the neighbourhood to encourage students who have dropped out of schools to continue their education.
Starting February 7, the state government will run the initiative for children between six to 10 years of age.
“Over 60 lakh students and more than 50,000 primary schools will be a part of this initiative. The students will be taught different subjects every day. The Unicef is also supporting us in this programme,” said Basu.
The state’s current caseload is below one lakh. There are a total of 94,535 active cases. With 5.66 per cent hospital beds occupied, it recorded a discharge rate of 94.17 per cent. In the past 24 hours, 51,421 samples were tested. In total, 2,28,31,145 have been tested in Bengal. In last 24 hours, 20,157 people have been discharged. 91,450 people are in home isolation.
Cases in the state capital, Kolkata, also continued to show a downward trend, with 496 new infections and five fatalities over the past 24 hours. The highest number of cases were recorded in North 24 Parganas district at 678 new cases and 14 deaths.
Despite the decline in case count, night curfew and other Covid restrictions continue to be in place. On Monday, 7,16,842 doses were administered.
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