Himachal govt to shut educational institutions after spike in COVID-19 cases among students and teachers

The government was forced to take the decision just a week after announcing reopening of schools

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Bipin Bhardwaj

After witnessing a spike in the COVID-19 cases among school students and teachers, the Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday finally decided to reclose all educational institutions across the state. The decision was taken in the state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, in Shimla today.

The HP Cabinet decided to close all education institutions including schools, colleges, polytechnical colleges, ITIs, coaching centres from November 11 to 25, an official spokesperson informed.

Sources said that the government was forced to take the decision just a week after reopening of schools. The government had started regular classes for students from Class IX to XII from November 2. All the educational institutions in the state were closed on March 14, 2010, after the outbreak of the pandemic, till March 31 and the closure orders were again extended.

Hundreds of school students and teachers tested positive for the COVID-19 since after the reopening of schools and the Education Department had asked the school heads to submit details of the corona positive cases in their respective institutions.

With nearly 70 students and 25 teachers and staff members of Tibetan Children Village, a boarding school at Chauntra, in Chief Minister's home district Mandi, testing positive for the virus, the incident had set the alarming bells ringing three days ago.

There are reports that students and teachers have been testing positive in different educational institutions across the state even after the government asked the parents to give consent before sending their wards to the schools.

Nearly 75 per cent of the parents had favoured the reopening of schools and colleges; however, the attendance has barely touched 30 per cent, an official informed.

The matter is likely to be taken up at a Cabinet meeting tomorrow, being held in the absence of Education Minister Govind Thakur, who himself had tested positive for COVID-19 and has been admitted to a hospital.

Sources said there was a possibility that the educational institutions may be closed for a week or 10 days to break the infection chain.

Though 74 per cent of the parents had favoured the reopening of schools and colleges, the attendance has barely touched 30 per cent.

“What set the alarm bells ringing is 67 students and 25 teachers and staff members testing positive at the Tibetan Children Village boarding school at Chauntra in Mandi,” said a Health Department official.

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Published: 10 Nov 2020, 8:18 PM
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