Srinagar, Jan 23: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday urged authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to vaccinate teachers and staff against Covid-19 before reopening schools.
“Vaccinating teachers and school staff is critical before getting students back in the classrooms,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
“We need to prioritize Covid-19 vaccination among teachers and staff to prevent disruption in learning,” he said.
“Vaccine will protect them from the virus, allow them to teach in-person and ultimately keep schools open.” DAK President said we will be placing our teachers and school staff in grave danger if we send them to teach in-person before being vaccinated.
“While children are less likely to get sick from Covid-19, they can spread the virus to teachers and staff at the school,” he said. “They can get infected at school and spread the virus to parents and grandparents at home who are more likely to develop severe disease.”
Dr Nisar said schools are very dynamic places. “This is not just about students coming and going, it is about students interacting with bus drivers, with other parents that come into school buildings to drop kids off. There is a lot of activity. Children tend not to follow social distancing and are not particular about personal hygiene,” he said.
“The existing infrastructure of most schools can be fertile grounds for virus transmission. We are reopening schools at a time when teachers would be spending most of time indoors with students with no ventilation and social distancing would not be achieved,” said Dr Nisar.
“School reopening depends largely on the prevalence of Covid-19 in the local community. While there’s no standard metric for determining what rate of community spread is too high to have schools open, many epidemiologists say that when a particular area has more than 25 cases a day per 100,000, the area is considered in the red zone and should consider shelter-in-place advisories, which would include keeping schools closed,” he said.