New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday said that it would be wise to consider reopening primary schools first as children can handle viral infection much better.
It said, “Children can handle viral infection much better as they have a lower number of ace receptors. So once the decision is taken and all the staff vaccinated, it would be wise to open primary schools first.”
ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava said that the primary Schools from classes 1 to 5 should be opened first. He said younger children have “much better” ability to handle the virus than adults”.
Dr Bhargava, however, said that before reopening schools, the authorities need to ensure that all staff and teachers must be vaccinated. “Children can handle viral infection better, they have less number of receptors. So once the decision is taken and all the staff vaccinated it would be good to open primary schools first,” said Dr. Bhargava.
As per the latest Sero survey, as many as 67.6 percent of India’s population above six years were found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
Earlier, AIIMS director, Dr Randeep Guleria said, “I am a proponent of opening up schools in a staggered way for districts that are seeing less virus circulation. It (reopening of schools) can be planned for places having positivity rates below 5 percent.” He added that “keeping schools shut down can affect children adversely.”
India has seen one of the biggest school closures in the world. Schools have been shut since mid-March 2020. While staggered reopening took place for senior classes, younger kids are yet to visit campuses.
Many parents and psychologists have observed behavioral changes in students. Currently, India does not have the policy to vaccinate its population younger than 18 years. Many parents believe that reopening schools after getting a significant number of children vaccinated will help in reducing anxiety among the kids and are demanding a vaccination for children as well.