New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has given a green signal to reopen primary schools initially as children are believed to recover from viral infection much quicker.
However, the apex body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research in India has strongly advised the staff and teachers to be vaccinated.
“Children can handle viral infection better than adults as they have fewer receptors. Antibody exposure is also similar in children and adults. So once the decision (on reopening educational institutions) is taken and all staff are vaccinated, it would be good to open primary schools first,” ICMR director-general, Dr Balram Bhargava was quoted as saying at a health ministry briefing recently by the news agencies.
“Some Scandinavian countries didn’t shut their primary schools in any COVID waves,” the ICMR added.
According to the ICMR’s latest Sero Survey, a total of 67.6 per cent of India’s population above six years of age had developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
AIIMS director Randeep Guleria had also said earlier said that schools should be reopened. “I am a proponent of opening up schools in a staggered way for districts that are seeing less virus circulation. It (reopening of schools) can be planned for places having positivity rates below 5 per cent. Keeping schools shut down can affect children adversely,” the AIIMS director had said.