VIJAYAWADA/VISAKHAPATNAM/TIRUPATI: As many as 293 students and 143 teachers in the State had contracted Covid-19 in the first week of September. In all, 39 schools were closed after the students and teachers tested positive to curb the spread of coronavirus. The total number of those affected by Covid will be more if the figures of the previous two weeks (August 16 to 31) were also taken into consideration.
According to officials of the education department, they are closely monitoring the situation and strictly implementing the Covid protocol in schools. Once a Covid case is identified, that particular school is being closed and medical aid is being extended to the affected, besides mapping primary contacts.
In the first week of September, the highest number of 51 Covid cases were reported in East Godavari district and most of the affected students are from Amalapuram division. It was followed by Kadapa with 37 Covid cases. The lowest number of cases was recorded in Visakhapatnam, where only three students tested positive for Covid.
In the case of teachers, Nellore reported the highest number of 33 cases. In comparison, only 28 students in the district tested positive. In contrast, no teacher had tested positive for Covid in Anantapur and Kurnool during that period. When contacted by TNIE, East Godavari DEO Abraham said given that 7.5 lakh students are there in the district and more than 70% of them are attending schools, the incidence of Covid is less.
Over 97% of teachers vaccinated: Minister
“We have not compromised on implementation of Covid norms to ensure the safety of students. Majority of teachers have been administered Covid vaccine, which is evident from the fact that compared to students, the number of teachers affected is very less,” the DEO said.
In the Northern Andhra districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, over 120 students tested positive. Of the total, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram accounted for 97 cases. About 25 teachers and non-teaching staff also tested positive for Covid in the region.
The sudden surge in Covid cases among schoolchildren in the last week of August had created tension among parents. Most of the cases were reported from rural and agency areas of the districts. In Srikakulam, six students out of 80 who tested positive for Covid are from the Mandal Parishad Upper Primary School at Chimalavalasa in Amadalavalasa mandal. The virus infected students and staff were sent to home quarantine.
In Vizianagaram, 67 students and 11 teachers tested positive after reopening schools on August 16. Though they tested Covid positive, they were found asymptomatic. DEO G Laxman Rao said, “As per the SOP, we are conducting classes to ensure the safety of students.”
Taking stock of the Covid situation in schools, Minister for Education A Suresh directed officials to take all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The officials informed him that over 97.5% of teachers in the State have been vaccinated so far. The remaining 7,388 teachers will also be given Covid vaccine at the earliest, they added.