The District Education Officer (DEO) in Rajkot on Monday issued an advisory to secondary and higher secondary schools in the district, asking students to wear masks and follow other safety protocols with an increase in Covid-19 cases.
“The number of Covid-19 cases are rising in Rajkot and the entire Gujarat. Keeping the safety of children in mind, we have instructed all secondary and higher secondary schools to ensure that students come to school wearing face-masks and teachers also follow SOPs (related to Covid-19). We have also instructed them to ask parents not to send children to school if they are ill,” Kaila said, adding SOPs include facilities for hand-sanitisation and maintaining social distancing while gathering in large numbers.
Underlining that state government or local authorities have not officially removed Covid-19 appropriate behaviour norms, the DEO said, “The SOPs issued earlier are very much in force. But people started taking them lightly as the cases of Covid-19 went down. Now, we have instructed schools to adhere to them strictly.”
There are around 890 secondary and higher secondary schools in the district. Talking to The Indian Express later, the DEO said that his office issued these instructions in the form of advisory through WhatsApp groups.
“These instructions are not in the form of any formal official circulars but advisory in nature so that schools take precautionary measures as children have started going back to schools after the summer vacation,” said Kaila.
The DEO said that his decision was prompted by a rising trend in the daily fresh infections of Covid-19 in the state. “The number of daily new cases has been rising now… Yesterday, the state reported 244 new cases and I noted that many of those who contracted the virus were young. Therefore, we thought it was necessary to convey it to schools to take precautionary measures and go for vaccination,” said Kaila.
Schools across the state reopened last week after the month-long summer vacation. Rajkot city reported 10 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, a bulletin from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) said on Monday, adding that a total 1,390 samples were tested during the day. However, no new infection was reported till noon on Monday.
At present, Rajkot has 49 active cases and 1,857 tests were held in the rural and city jurisdictions on June 19. After the abatement of the third wave by mid-March, the district infrequently reported fewer than five Covid cases a day, with most days since mid-March seeing no new cases.
However, since June 2, the district has been reporting new cases daily, with as many as 13 cases reported on June 15 and 12 cases on June 16. On June 19, the district reported 10 cases and on June 20, four cases.