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Explained: What is the ‘school bubble’ Karnataka has proposed for its students?

As Karnataka government plans to reopen schools, the Covid technical advisory committee has proposed the introduction of small mutually exclusive groups of students to manage possible spread of the virus.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal , Edited by Explained Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 31, 2021 8:43:54 am
Students appear for an examination in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo/File)

The Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) constituted by the Karnataka government has proposed the ‘school bubble’ concept to mitigate the spread of the disease among children (aged below 18) attending offline classes at schools and pre-university colleges across the state.

What are school bubbles?

School bubbles are physical classifications made between groups comprising a small number of students. As per the concept, each such bubble will include students who tend to remain as a group during school hours throughout the term or an academic year.

A TAC member told The Indian Express that the concept would help managements easily isolate a fewer number of students in case anyone gets infected. “For instance, a school bubble can include 30 students. If one among them gets infected, the others can self-isolate but the school need not be closed completely. This would allow uninterrupted learning to others as well,” the expert explained.

Why are school bubbles significant?

The concept of school bubbles, experts feel, will be more relevant to students studying in primary school or below. These students will have more chances of peer-to-peer interactions on a daily basis. With school bubbles in place, TAC notes that the risk assessment process to identify close contacts of a Covid-positive student will also get easier.

Is this concept completely new?

No. This has been cited by the TAC for being successfully implemented at schools in the United Kingdom. The government there has further relaxed social-distancing measures for students within a particular school bubble. However, all members of the bubble are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests if a student is infected.

When will this be implemented?

A detailed proposal describing the entire concept has been submitted to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. A final call is expected to be taken by the state government after further deliberations among the key stakeholders of the primary and secondary education sector in the state, including teachers, parent representatives, and school management. The TAC has recommended the implementation of the concept terming it “operationally feasible” across schools in Karnataka.

Is this concept completely new?

No. This has been cited by the TAC for being successfully implemented at schools in the United Kingdom. The government there has further relaxed social-distancing measures for students within a particular school bubble. However, all members of the bubble are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests if a student is confirmed of the infection.

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