‘No widespread infection reported after school reopening’

A group of aided primary school managers has urged the State government to revoke the decision to go back to online mode of teaching for classes 1 to 9 after January 21 in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Functionaries of the Kerala Aided (Primary) School Managers Association (KASMA) said on Saturday that the decision to close down schools alone had some ulterior motive. They pointed out that there had been no widespread surge in cases after the schools reopened on November 1. The students are coming to schools only for three days a week. There had been no reports of COVID clusters in schools or students going on leave en masse after contracting the infection.

Those in the education sector are saying that the students hadn’t benefited much from online classes. None of the health experts or Indian Medical Association members were in favour of stopping offline classes, the KASMA leaders said. Though General Education Minister V. Sivankutty has clarified that this is just a precautionary move, the managers are not convinced.

Exorbitant cost

The managers claimed that they had to face much hardship ahead of reopening of schools. The furniture and other equipment in school had to repaired and the buildings refurbished at an exorbitant cost. Another huge amount was spent on paying taxes and insurance premium for school vehicles. P.S. Sasikumar, president of the association, claimed that at least ₹55,000 had been spent by each management for the purpose. If the schools are closed down again, the managers would have to incur major financial losses because they would have to repeat the process ahead of reopening for the next academic year. The government had not been releasing the grant-in aid for the past two years, Mr. Sasikumar alleged.

The KASMA functionaries demanded that the government pay them the money they had spent on taxes and insurance premium or compensate them for the losses. They said that if a large number of cases are reported from a school in an area, only that institution should be closed down.

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