For representational purposes. (Express Illustrations)
For representational purposes. (Express Illustrations)

Fever cases may be on the rise among primary kids in Chennai post start of offline classes

While there is a modicum of compliance in wearing of masks in schools, social distancing is seldom followed.

CHENNAI: After reopening of schools a month ago, the number of children falling sick seems to be on the rise. The New Indian Express checked multiple schools in Chennai on Tuesday and found that at least three to four kids were sick in each classroom, particularly in Classes 1 to 5.

While there is a modicum of compliance in wearing of masks in schools, social distancing is seldom followed. School authorities cite lack of space in institutions as the reason.

"With COVID cases on the rise, parents and teachers are worried. Health experts told us it is mostly seasonal flu because of rains. But the health department could organize special fever camps outside schools where incidence of fever is high. They did a similar drive for fever cases in residential complexes earlier," said P Patrick Raymond, general secretary, TN Graduate Teachers Federation.

Some experts recommended staggered break timings in schools. "It is impossible to stop kids from sharing their food or interacting with one other," said K Priyanka, an education rights activist.

According to health experts, children develop immunity to various viruses and bacteria by regular exposure to small inoculum of microorganisms at their schools and through their playmates. But their immunity has taken a toll now as most of the children had to stay at home for at least two years.

"Balanced diet and enough hydration is key to addressing the situation. While getting infected with viruses and bacteria impacts a child’s immunity, not getting infected at all for a long time may have consequences too. However, parents need not be worried about COVID as it is not very virulent among children," said Dr Kamala Nathan, a consultant pediatrician.

Meanwhile, the State school education department has issued a circular directing schools to follow safety measures as there is a risk of students getting infected. Schools have been instructed to check the temperature of students and staff before allowing them inside the campus. Everyone has to wear masks and headmistress/principal must ensure soap or hand wash is provided to help students wash their hands frequently.

The New Indian Express