VIJAYAWADA: Even as the neighbouring Telangana and some other States have decided to extend holidays for educational institutions till the end of this month owing to the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Andhra Pradesh government is set to reopen schools from Monday as scheduled after Sankranti vacation.
Education Minister Audimulapu Suresh on Sunday clarified that there was no move to extend Sankranti vacation for schools and colleges in the State. “Compared to other States, the AP government has taken several precautionary measures to protect students from coronavirus. In the US, schools are functioning even if the daily Covid count is 6-10 lakh. Same is the case with European countries where 3-6 lakh cases are being reported a day,” he cited.
In the State, 100% of teaching staff have been vaccinated. About 10 lakh students out of the total 13 lakh in the age group of 15-18 years (93-95%) have been administered Covid vaccine.
“We have decided to reopen schools on Monday as per schedule after considering all these factors. The academic year began in August, 2021. Classes are being conducted for the last five months strictly adhering to Covid protocol. If there is any danger, we will take a decision accordingly to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other stakeholders,” the minister avowed.
The Education Department is closely monitoring the Covid situation in the State, in coordination with the Health Department. Separate cells have been set up at school, junior and degree college levels to observe the situation.
Daily reports on Covid cases are being reviewed to ensure the safety of students. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who accorded top priority to students’ future, is reviewing the Covid situation in the State regularly, he asserted.
7.52 cr doses of vaccine given
In all, 7.52 crore doses of Covid vaccine has been administered to people in the State in the last one year. The first dose has been given to 4.23 cr people
Extend holidays till month-end: APPA to govt
Meanwhile, teachers’ and parents’ associations have appealed to the government to extend Sankranti holidays for educational institutions till the end of this month considering the surge in Covid cases in the State.
Municipal Teachers Federation president S Ramakrishna has urged the government to reconsider its decision about reopening schools in the State in the larger interests of students. Considering the spike in Covid cases, the Telangana government has extended Sankranti vacation for schools and colleges till the end of this month. For Sankranti, many students and teachers went to their hometowns. Hence, it is advisable to extend Sankranti vacation for schools and colleges in the State by at least 10 days, he felt.
Andhra Pradesh Patasala Parents Association (APPA) president P Chandram said the government should consider the safety of schoolchildren below 15 years.
“We are appealing to the government to extend Sankranti holidays till the end of this month on the lines of neighbouring Telangana in the larger interests of all students,” he said.