Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday said a decision regarding reopening of schools for classes one to five in the state will be taken after the festival season. He also said the state government has reopened educational institutions not in a "hurry" but in a phased manner after discussion with parents and experts. First higher education institutions were reopened, then pre-university and later classes 9-12 and classes 6-8, Sudhakar told reporters after meeting Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
"We will take a decision shortly after the festival season. Let the Dussehra vacation get over," he said. Sudhakar further said that a final call will be taken after consultation and the Cabinet's decision. Asked about a school in Bengaluru being shut after children tested COVID-19 positive, he said the government is aware of it. But that one incident cannot determine whether to reopen schools for classes one to five, Sudhakar said.
"That school is shut now and many children are isolated. Two children had symptoms and they are not in a serious condition. We are keeping a watch on every school in the state," he said.
It has been more than a month that schools were reopened for classes six to eight in the state and "we have not received any reports of concerns from schools so far," he added. Sudhakar said, "We were to reopen schools for classes one to five because medically speaking, immunity in children up to 12 years is highest."
Since children are small and keeping parents' concerns in mind, the government focused on reopening educational institutions in a phased manner, he said. On reopening of educational institutions, Sudhakar said, "We did not take decisions in hurry. Even now if we see children are facing problems, then we will immediately take back our decision."
The Karnataka Minister mentioned that the first dose has been administered to over 80% of the entire eligible population of 4.98 crore in the state, while the second dose had been administered to 37% so far. In September, the state administered the highest single-month vaccine doses of 1.48 crore, he said.
"At the same speed, we will complete the entire eligible population by the end of December 31," he said. Sudhakar, however, said there are "10-15% of the population who still have not taken a single dose in the state," and the government is planning an outreach programme to create awareness.