Govt favours reopening of primary schools, says 'all staff must be vaccinated'
New Delhi: Once India starts reopening schools, it will be wise, to begin with, the primary section as children have a lower number of ace receptors to which virus attaches, making them much better at handling viral infections than adults, said ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava on Tuesday.
He, however, stressed that for such a step to be considered, it must be ensured that school teachers and other support staff members are vaccinated.
Addressing a press conference, he said the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR's) latest national serosurvey has found that the seroprevalence among those aged six to nine was 57.2 per cent which is very similar to adults.
Asked about opening schools since COVID-19 cases have declined in many districts, Bhargava said children can handle viral infection much better than adults and it has also been established that they have a lower number of ace receptors to which virus attaches.
"In some countries, particularly the Scandinavian ones, they (authorities) did not shut down their primary schools during the first, second or third wave... whatever (Covid) waves they had, their primary schools were always open.
"So, once India starts considering opening schools, it will be wise to begin with the primary schools. Also, we have to ensure that all support staff members, be it school bus drivers or teachers, are vaccinated," Bhargava said.