Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar on Thursday decided to stop physical attendance for students in classes 6 to 9 in Bengaluru urban district with immediate effect. The decision comes in the wake of the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru. However, students of classes 10, 11 and 12 will continue in both online and offline mode. Regular classes had not resumed for primary school students since the onset of the pandemic.
This decision by the minister comes when many private schools had exams scheduled for the coming week. It is not yet known if the government will allow examinations to be held in an offline mode or not. No such decision has been made by the Higher Education Department yet which is headed by Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan. While schools were shut since-mid March 2020 since the nationwide lockdown, regular classes had resumed for Class 10 and Class 12 from January, 2021.
Karnataka is seeing a fresh surge of cases since the onset of March. For the first time in five months, the number of new cases crossed the 4,000 mark this week. Bengaluru, being the hotspot, is seeing the majority of the caseload, reporting 2,906 cases on Thursday alone.
According to government data, Bengaluru recorded 31,886 cases for the month of March compared to 6,813 cases in February. Not only the caseload, the positivity rate also increased to 2.31% in March from 0.94% in February. Bidar (218), Kalaburagi (144), Tumakuru (102) and Mysuru (109) are the districts other than Bengaluru which have more than 100 cases.
There was a jump in the number of fatalities too. March saw 147 COVID-19 deaths compared to 88 in February. However, the fatality rate dropped to 0.46% compared to 1.28% of February.