IT for Change put out a press release on January 26, 2021, about the urgent need to reopen all classes across all schools with local hygiene precautions in place. The statement, endorsed by a group of educationists and social work organizations, was covered by the New Indian Express.
The day after the release of the statement, the Education Minister of Karnataka wrote to the Health Minister of Karnataka, asking for teachers to be vaccinated as front line workers.
Subsequently, the Karnataka government also appealed to the Central Government to treat teachers as frontline workers and include them in the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive. The Karnataka government, in a letter to the Prime Minister and Union Health Minister, has highlighted the role of teachers in containing the pandemic through their on-field work, including maintenance of containment zones.
Read our statement below:
- Karnataka education department opened schools selectively from January 1st. Throughout the month, class 12 and 10 students have come to school daily and classes 8 and 9 have come few days every week.
- Teachers and students have largely observed the hygiene requirements – distancing, masks, washing etc. NO spike in Covid-19 cases has been reported during this period across the entire state. Case and deaths continue to decline. Vaccination has commenced across the state, beginning with front-line workers.
- The demand from parents and students that schools should fully open up, is very clearly visible. For most of them (80%+) online education is simply not possible. Hence the long gap where schools have been closed has seriously affected their education.
- The dangers of not having school is still there for the students from the other classes – loss of learning due to gaps, malnutrition aggravated by no provision of the legally mandated hot cooked meals and school drop out.
- Teachers need adequate time for students of each class to cover the competencies and concepts required at each grade of schooling. Already too much time has been lost. Vaccines should be made available on priority to teachers, especially those above 50 years of age. Teachers are essential frontline workers too. Hot cooked meals must be served in every school, this will support health and nutrition
- Hence on behalf of students, parents, teachers and schools, we demand that all schools be allowed to open fully. All students from class 1 to class 10 should be able to come to school. It is known that younger children are less vulnerable to the virus. Keeping children out of school will further worsen the inequities and harm they have suffered all these months. Open all schools now, continuing hygiene measures and precautions.
- Niranjanaradhya.V.P., Senior Fellow, Centre for Child and the Law , NLSIU
- Rishikesh, Azim Premji University
- Rajendran Narayanan, Azim Premji University
- Dr. Sylvia Karpagam Public Health Doctor and Researcher
- Prakash Iyer, Azim Premji University
- Sriranjani Ranganathan, Foundation for Education, Ecology and Livelihood
- Dr. Srinivasa Kakkilaya, M.D.,Medical Expert, Mangalore
- Gurumurthy Kasinathan, IT for Change
- Ankur Madan, Azim Premji University
- Moyyuddin Kutti, President, SDMC Coordination Forum