Private schools in Bengaluru urge pupils to shun crowds, postpone holiday trips – Times of India

BENGALURU: Some private schools in Bengaluru have instructed parents of students to ensure that their children do not venture into crowded places like shopping malls and fairs or go on outstation trips.

The directive comes in the wake of a rash of Covid-19 cluster outbreaks on school and college campuses in the state. School managements are taking all precautions to pre-empt an outbreak by ensuring students keep themselves safe.

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One South Bengaluru preschool told students not to attend the ‘kadalekai parishe’, the annual groundnut festival. “Children were orally told in the class not to visit the kadalekai parishe, and if they visited, they were asked not to come to the school,” a parent told TOI. “The school management is taking precautions to ensure children remain infection-free by staying away from the crowd.”
Every school has its own responsibilities and instructions such as these help in creating awareness, said D Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Association of Management of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka (KAMS). He said students are “going everywhere” and attending social gatherings. Many leave in groups after school and college and only a handful maintain Covidappropriate behaviour.

“While schools ensure Covidappropriate behaviour on campuses, students don’t follow these protocols when off the campus,” Kumar said. “For example, students are seated cheek by jowl in tuition classes. If a student tests positive, the blame will fall on the school. It’s a scary situation and a big worry for school authorities.”

Dr MK Sudarshan, chairperson, state Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) chief, said the fact that schools are taking proactive measures to teach children Covid-appropriate behaviour is a good sign. “Children must be taught Covid-appropriate behaviour like avoiding crowds and wearing a mask,” he said. “It’s a good move when schools impart such life-lessons on their own.”

Dr SM Prasad, paediatrician and honorary secretary, Indian Medical Association, Karnataka, said kids should avoid going to fairs, markets and malls because of the pandemic situation.

“Children catch infections early and spread them quickly,” Dr Prasad said. “They do not show clear symptoms. Staying away from crowds and wearing a masks while out in public has helped not only in controlling Covid but also in preventing other viral infections.” He said the current climate is favourable for the spread of viruses like influenza and one must take all precautions possible.

With on-campus classes resuming, parents must ensure their children do not go to school if a family member develops Covid -19 symptoms, Dr Prasad said. “Parents should take the responsibility and inform the school management if anyone at home falls sick and shows typical Covid symptoms,” Dr Prasad said. “In such cases, ideally, parents should not send their children to school.”

Following cluster outbreaks in educational institutions in Mysuru, Dharwad and Bengaluru Urban districts, the state government on Sunday issued an advisory to education institutions to postpone all social and cultural events for two months.

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