Health Ministry not in favor of reopening of schools in September
New Delhi: Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has disagreed with the decision to allow educational institutions, including schools, to reopen from September 1.
The Ministry estimates that the total number of COVID-19 patients in the country will surpass 30 lakhs by the end of August. In this context, the Health Ministry is of the stance that educational institutions should be reopened after ensuring the safety of students and teachers.
In countries like the USA, Australia, South Korea and Israel, educational institutions were opened after the lockdown. However, they had to shut it down once the COVID transmission intensified. Sources from the Health Ministry told Mathrubhumi News that they expect the Union Home Ministry to take a decision on the matter only after considering the situation in other countries.
The Home Ministry is planning to let the state governments decide when to reopen schools based on regional circumstances. Educational institutions located in containment zones are unlikely to be allowed to open. However, if students from containment zones attended schools in other localities, it would lead to disease transmission.
The Health Ministry is concerned how the state governments can stop students living in containment zones from going to schools outside. The Ministry had prepared the guidelines for reopening schools in June itself. If the Home Ministry approves reopening of schools as per Unlock 4, the course of action would be based on these guidelines. However, the Health Ministry hopes that the permission would not be granted.