Indian schools have started to reopen after being closed for more than a year as cases of COVID-19 have started to decline.
The government gave the green light to reopen schools on Tuesday in at least five states and union territories, including Delhi and Tamil Nadu. Schools have done so with caution, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place, including wearing masks, frequent hand washing, staggered lunch breaks, and limited seating for social distancing in classrooms. class.
India closed most schools, colleges and other educational institutions in March 2020, as the pandemic began in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus. While many schools in urban or high income areas have switched to online learning, this was not an option for students in rural and low income areas.
The United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF, says only one in four children in India has access to the internet and digital devices. Several reports and studies of Indian children during the pandemic have found that thousands of Indian children have suffered learning loss, and they say a continued lack of in-person learning could create irreversible learning gaps.
The government now says the recent dramatic global drop in COVID-19 cases has allowed schools to begin reopening safely. India’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported 41,965 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours. In May, the daily rate peaked at over 400,000.
But some parents remain concerned about the recent outbreaks, and they fear a third wave of infections could put the brakes on their children. Likewise, some private schools wait until October to begin in-person learning.