829 teachers, 525 students in Andhra test positive for coronavirus as classes commence
829 teachers, 525 students in Andhra test positive for coronavirus as classes commence

829 teachers, 525 students in Andhra test positive for coronavirus as classes commence

A total of 70,790 teachers and 95,763 students were tested for the novel coronavirus.

On November 2, classes commenced for class 9 and 10 students in Andhra Pradesh. Across the 13 districts of the state, as per the report received on 3 pm on November 5, a total of 829 teachers and 575 students have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. So far, 70,790 teachers and 95,763 children have been tested. According to the education department, the teachers who tested positive account for only 1.17% of the total people tested. The 575 students who tested positive account for 0.60% of the total students tested.  

According to the Commissioner of School Education V Chinna Veerabhadrudu, most of the teachers were tested before the opening of the schools. However, they were allowed to go to attend school while awaiting the test results. "There are certain messages going around in WhatsApp stating that there is an increase of coronavirus cases after the schools reopened. Those messages were referred to the District Educational Officers concerned, who, after verifying, found that they are not genuine," he said.

According to the officials, 99.92% of the high schools have opened in the state. 89.92% of teachers have attended classes on November 5 and 44.22% of class 10 students have attended classes on Thursday.

The high number of cases has alarmed parents and students alike. However, the commissioner dismissed these fears and assured that all precautions are being followed. He said, “On the whole, schools are running in a safe environment and with all due precautions. The entire machinery of School Education Medical & Health departments in the district is vigilant. There is an encouraging and positive response among the students and teachers for continuing the teaching-learning activity in the schools.”   

Veerabhadrudu said economically backward students who could not afford online classes are the most affected if schools do not open and it is quandary for girl students in tribal and rural areas as parents may get them married.

Rajsekhar Budithi, Principal Secretary of School Education Department, said, “We are also monitoring the situation in every district very closely along with respective District Collectors. Wherever positive cases are detected the concerned teacher or student is advised not to attend the school and to immediately report to the district administration and take treatment as per the COVID-19 protocols.”

Classes 6, 7 and 8 are set to resume on November 23 while classes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will restart from December 14, an official statement said earlier.

Speaking to the media, the Education Minister Adimupalu Suresh on Wednesday, said, “A task force has been set up. The standard operating procedures are strictly being followed. It is very unlikely that the teachers and the students can contract the virus while at school.”

All the educational institutions have remained closed since March when the national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 was announced.

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