With COVID cases surging, Admin puts educational staff at risk by forcing them to travel to empty schools

‘We are forced to give online classes from schools which can be given from home’

Srinagar: At a time when Kashmir is witnessing around 1500-2000 cases of COVID-19 every day, Jammu and Kashmir government has put the lives of thousands of teachers at risk by directing teachers to attend schools regularly.

The order came after some school principals issued a roaster for 50% attendance of their own.

“All the HOIs are directed to ensure 100% attendance of staff in their respective schools and desist from such exercise till government issues any direction in this regard. Further all the principals, headmasters and ZEOs are directed to submit attendance of staff on a daily basis through CEO App without failing by 11:00 am,” the official order reads.

However, medical practitioners have been receiving many cases of teachers infected with COVID-19.

“In last one week, we came across at least 30 teachers who have contracted Covid-19 disease attending schools and colleges with no students. Fail to understand why risking 50,000 teachers and their families, attending duties, using public transport imparting online education. STRANGE,” associate professor internal Medicines GMC Srinagar, Dr Muzaffar Maqbool tweeted on Friday morning.

He later replied to a comment on his tweet, “to correct the figures it is 1.25 lakh Teachers plus non-teaching staff who throng the roads and public places, use public transport and rest you can imagine. Totally bizarre.”

Teachers also complain that they are anxious to attend schools because they have to come from distant places by public transport where they can catch the virus and risk the lives of their families as well as colleagues.

“We have colleagues which come from Pulwama and other districts and no one will know who is carrying the fatal virus. If one will get infected, it will get communicated to the whole school and we can risk the lives of our families as well,” said one of the teachers of private school, wanting to be anonymous.

He said that the teachers are being told to give online classes from schools which they can give from home as well ‘then why to risk the lives of so many people’.

“On government holidays as well, we have no respite. We are told to come to school and give classes. We don’t have any government holiday except on Sunday,” said another teacher of one of the reputed private schools.

President, Doctors Association Kashmir, Dr Suhail Nayak said that the situation in India is going from bad to worse and in Kashmir it is still controllable if precautions are taken strictly and next four weeks are very crucial in Kashmir.

“Teachers who are directed to attend schools regularly for conducting online classes can be a reason for surge in cases because they have to travel by public transport and they will risk the lives of their families. When the internet is available in Kashmir now, the government should allow them to take online classes from home,” Dr Nayak said.

Director School Education, Tasaduq Husaain Mir told Free Press Kashmir that the department has briefed the matter to the government.

“Keeping the situation in mind we had a meeting on it. This is a matter of concern and the government will take up a call on it soon,” Mir added.

Free Press Kashmir tried to get in touch with Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor JKUT, however, he did not respond to the repeated calls and messages from this reporter.


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