Updated on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 10:15 AM IST

FPJ-Ed: Is it safe to reopen schools amid rising Omicron cases in Mumbai? Expert answers


Mumbai: Schools all over Maharashtra have reopened on Wednesday for classes 1 to 7. The schools were to reopen on December 4 but due of the Omicron threat, the reopening was postponed to December 15. However, Mumbai reported eight new omicron cases on Tuesday.

Mumbai Pedratician Dr. Prakash Vaidya said, “Schools had to start sometime and probably one of the options was to wait till every child got at least the first dose of vaccine but the time of rollout of the vaccine is not yet clear. And yes, there definitely is a risk in reopening the schools offline.”

“We are seeing a lot more other routine viral infections which had taken backstage when the schools were closed. Now the child-to-child transmission of those infections is going up as well. It cannot be said that COVID-19 cases are going up but the transmission process of these infections is the same as COVID-19. We are not able to clinically make out whether this infection is due to a particular virus. All we know is that they have a profile of a viral infection, and one of those viruses could possibly be COVID-19,” Dr. Vaidya further added.

Speaking about the COVID-19 protocols, Dr. Vaidya said, “It is necessary to observe all the basic norms. If these are also observed, the problem is that who will supervise the children all the time and ensure that such behavior is adhered to. That is challenging. Other than that, an important precaution is that any child is symptomatic, the parents should voluntarily keep him/her at home so that other children don’t get infected.”

Jalpa Patel, a parent of two girls in class 1 and class 7 said, “I still am in a dilemma whether to send my girls to the school because there definitely is a risk. For now, I am not sending either of the two and making them attend online, but eventually, I will have to send them. Both of them don’t really pay attention in online classes and the learning process is being hampered for 20 months. I would wait for a while and see how the offline classes are working and then maybe after a week I will send my kids.”

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Published on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 10:15 AM IST