In Telangana, over 120 students studying in government school hostels have been infected with coronavirus over the last month.

How Telangana govt residential schools are tackling COVID-19 clustersImage for representation/PTI
news Coronavirus Saturday, December 11, 2021 - 17:22

With over 120 students studying in Telangana’s government residential schools being infected with the coronavirus over the last month, the authorities have stepped up COVID-19 protocols to prevent its spread. In the Sangareddy district alone, 95 students tested positive a few days ago. Similarly, in Khammam district 29 students tested positive last month. 

According to authorities, these students have been sent to their homes for treatment. Their health is being monitored daily by the District Medical and Health Officers (DMHO) of the respective districts. It is important to note that the severity of the infections is mild and hospitalisation is almost nil in these places and most of the students and staff members are asymptomatic.

However, as the number of COVID-19 clusters has been increasing, the DMHOs have asked school management to increase their vigilance and make masking mandatory. While no new protocols have been created, the existing Standard Operating Procedure has been strictly enforced, authorities said. As part of this, students who leave for their homes or attend any event outside the school premises will be asked to undergo 10 days quarantine. 

Besides this, parents visiting the schools would be asked to produce their vaccination certificates. “While interacting with the students during their visits, parents and the students would be strictly required to wear a mask,” Gayatri, the DMHO of Sangareddy district, told TNM.  

Sangareddy district has two clusters in residential schools – 48 students infected in Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Telangana Backward Classes Welfare Residential school at Muthangi village, and 47 in Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Backward Classes Welfare Residential school at Indresham village.

“As per previous guidelines, we have instructed hostel management to sanitise the premises once a week. Masks for students and teachers are being made compulsory. The teachers and staff have to be completely vaccinated with two doses. While these are instructions given to the educational institutions, it is up to the management to come up with plans to contain the spread of the virus,” Gayatri added.     

An official from the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society, speaking about the arrangements being made said, “We have a robust system in place to detect COVID-19 cases and isolate the infected students. Each school has a health supervisor who would monitor the health of the students and report it to the Command Control Centre every day,” he said. 

The Command Control Centre is located in Hyderabad and will check the daily health reports of the students. “The health supervisor will conduct checks daily to identify the symptoms of the virus, and based on these check-ups, we would give them the required treatment which includes isolation,” he further added. 

In Telangana, while educational institutions reopened on September 1, 2021, the residential schools were reopened a month later. This was allowed after the institutions assured the Telangana High Court that they would adopt preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities.  

Meanwhile, on Friday, December 10, Telangana recorded 202 new COVID-19 cases and one death, taking the death toll to 4,004. The Telangana Health Department has so far screened 3,235 passengers arriving from ‘at-risk countries’ to detect the Omicron variant of the virus. So far, none have tested positive for the variant.