New Delhi: Around 53 per cent of Indian parents support the reopening of schools in August or September, while 44 per cent of them are against the idea, a recent survey by LocalCircles has found.
This is in stark contrast to its previous survey in June, when 76 per cent of parents did not want to send their children to school, amounting to a nearly 30 percentage point decrease in two months, and only 20 per cent of parents wanted schools to open by July 2021.
LocalCircles is a polling platform on the issues of governance, public and consumer interest.
Its latest survey, results of which it released Tuesday, LocalCircles said it received over 47,000 responses from 24,000 unique parents residing in 378 districts of India. Around 66 per cent of the participants were men while 34 per cent were women.
The survey also found that parents wanted their local administration to vaccinate teaching and non-teaching school staff.
“The survey sought parents’ pulse if the State Governments should ensure district administrations for August and September organise free vaccination camps at/near schools so all school staff can get vaccinated on priority. In response, the majority of 89% of parents surveyed said ‘yes’,” the report said.
It also states that data released by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) indicates that transmission between masked (N95) individuals who maintain a six-feet distance, requires 677 hours.
Putting in context of schools, it further added, “In the context of schools what this indicates is that if N-95 masks are made mandatory and the school period is restricted to three hours a day with no break for lunch and social distancing of six feet is followed, the likelihood of transmission goes down to zero.”
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Rapid Antigen Test kits should be available
In addition to these findings, a massive 74 per cent of parents also believe that the government should ensure that the district administration provides RAT kits to schools to regularly conduct random tests.
“Random rapid antigen testing in schools is something experts from around the world have been recommending as schools reopen,” the survey said. “Staff and students developing even minor symptoms — headache, loss of smell and taste, nasal congestion and runny nose, cough, muscle pain, sore throat, fever, diarrhoea, and breathing difficulties — can be immediately confirmed if they have Covid with a Rapid Antigen Test.”
As the number of Covid cases in the country continues to remain much lower than the peak months of May and June, several state governments have opened up schools.
With lacking internet connectivity and no access to learning devices, children in various parts of the country were unable to attend online classes.
While schools in Odisha for Classes 10 and 12 reopened on July 26, Karnataka has announced the reopening of schools for classes 9-12 from 25 August.
Chhattisgarh reopened schools for classes 10 and 12 from 2 August with 50 per cent capacity.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)
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