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Karnataka: Do not reopen schools, IAP pediatricians tell CM Yediyurappa

October 22, 2020

The Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), Karnataka chapter, has urged the state government not to reopen educational institutions anytime soon due to the high number of Covid-19 cases.

In a recent letter to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, the association said the time is not yet ripe for reopening of schools and colleges. The letter signed by Dr Shantharaj A, president, and Dr Natesh B H, secretary of IAP Karnataka read, “In the interest of the health of children and community at large, we urge you to take a decision based on scientific and epidemiological data… (We are) in the process of bringing out a set of recommendations, which shall be shared with you immediately on its release.”

The association has 32,000 members nationwide and 2,600 pediatricians statewide.

Dr Sharath Chand S, vice-president of Bengaluru division, said, “Kids will not be able to follow wearing of masks and social distancing in schools. If one child contracts the virus, the entire family, including parents and grandparents, will be affected. This will create a burden on health infrastructure. Children are fragile and Covid-19 will increase their mortality as well as morbidity, although until now we have fortunately seen most kids remaining asymptomatic, on testing positive.”

“We need to understand this disease well. We will not lose anything by giving up an academic year,” he added.

President-elect of IAP Karnataka, Dr Ashok R Dastar said the decision to reopen schools must be taken at the district level, based on local and epidemiological data. “If a district does 100 tests a day, and less than five people show up positive, or if there are 20 or fewer cases in a district of 10 lakh population, such a place can consider reopening schools. Teachers and doctors here can take lessons on wearing masks, social distancing and other norms. The decision must be taken in consultation with parents and pediatricians,” he said.

Children remaining away from schools for 7-8 months has impacted their learning, but at the same time, we must not put them at risk and need to take parents’ opinion, he added.

Source: The New Indian Express

Read: IAP formulates guidelines for school reopening and remote learning

Also read: School reopening fears

Also read: School Reopening Framework – Designed by Health-Care Experts

Also read: Preparing children for school reopening

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