He said the closures would be taluka-specific and not a blanket decision across the district or state as was done during the first and second waves of the epidemic. The issue was discussed during a virtual meeting convened by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bomai to review the epidemic situation.
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“The decision to close the school was taken on the basis of active case reports from block education officers and taluk health officials,” said Home Minister Araga Gyanendra. It was decided to reserve beds in hospital wards and ICUs for the treatment of covid-positive children and to conduct a general health check-up once in a while in schools.
Nagesh told reporters that the current situation does not guarantee closure of schools as the government is handling the situation very seriously and on an hourly basis. However, if the case escalates, he said, the deputy commissioners have been instructed to call depending on the situation in their respective districts.
“We have asked them to consider the taluk as a unit, not the whole district,” the minister said. “This means that only those taluk schools with a reported positive rate of more than 5% will be closed, and not the entire district schools.”
He said the infection among schoolgirls was “negligible”. As of Sunday, 163 PU students and 640 students at the school had tested positive. Of these, 360 have recovered. Similarly, about 80 teachers tested positive and 12 recovered. “So, parents don’t have to worry,” said Minister Nagesh.
Nagesh said the positivity rate is 0-1% in 134 talukas and 0% in a dozen talukas. “The positivity rate may be higher in Bangalore, but it is not the same in 10 talukas of Tumakuru district or other parts of the state,” he said. The Minister for Annual Examinations said that considering the predictions of experts that the third wave would end in mid-February and last week of February, it is more likely that annual examinations will be held in schools and colleges at the end of March and April.
The minister said schools and colleges have been asked to be ready to conduct regular on-campus examinations as per the schedule this year.
Since the second wave peaked in April and May last year, the government has canceled II PUC exams as well as primary and high school exams. 12th graders were promoted based on their scores on the I PUC exam, while primary and high schools conducted the exam online. However, the government conducted on-campus examinations for SSLC students.
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