More and more Indian parents are unwilling to send their children to in-person schools with the rise in coronavirus cases and the threat of Omicron, as per a recent LocalCircles survey.
The survey found out that 52 per cent parents don’t want to send their children now for in-person schools if cases in their district or city are on a rise and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) stands at 5 per cent. On the other hand, 18 per cent of those surveyed, however, said that they are “already sending children to school and will continue despite Omicron” whereas 25 per cent said they will send their children “whenever the schools reopen”.
There are, however, 10 per cent parents who said they are not willing to send their children to school till the cases start to decline and “TPR goes below 5 per cent”, “TPR goes below 2 per cent” and “TPR goes below 1 per cent” whereas 12 per cent want “TPR to be below 0.5 per cent”. The survey further mentions that there are another 10 per cent will only send their children to school when there are no coronavirus cases in their district or city.
While they are concerned about the effectiveness of online education and loss of education due to online facilities, parents are apprehensive of sending their kids to school due to poor ventilation in classrooms and lack of social distancing. Omicron variant is found to be 3-5 times more transmissible than the previous variants and poses a risk of spreading fast among children.
LocalCircles also found that only 32 per cent of those parents surveyed were willing to send their kids to school in February 2021. This percentage went up to 58 per cent when the second COVID-19 wave kicked in during March 2021 and then surged to 76 per cent in May 2021 and 78 per cent in July 2021.
This percentage, however, declined to 44 per cent in August 2021 and 42 per cent in November 2021. As cases started to rise and amid the possibility of a third wave, the percentage of parents unwilling to send their kids to school went up to 52 per cent.
LocalCircles founder Sachin Taparia has advised the Central and state governments to switch to online education via Internet, television, radio, among others for rural education till end of February. He also cited concerns over the risk of large number of children contracting Omicron.
“Unless a district or a city is COVID free or has really low levels TPR, our recommendation to the Central Government and State Governments would be to switch to online education and enable the same via mediums like internet, television, radio, etc. for rural locations at least till end of Februrary,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to the rise in coronavirus cases across the country, several cities and states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal have announced closure of schools.
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