All teaching and non-teaching staff of state-run, aided and private schools across Karnataka would be vaccinated on priority ahead of resuming classes, as the pandemic's second wave wanes, said Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Thursday. "As schools have to be re-opened sooner and students cannot rely on online classes for long, all teachers and other staff of schools will be vaccinated on priority across the state for the safety of students," Sudhakar told reporters here. Schools have remained shut since the pandemic broke out in the state in mid-March 2020 to protect students and contain the virus spread.
Admitting that online or virtual classes may impact the mental health of students in the long run, Sudhakar said that the state government was consulting health experts, parents and other stakeholders on when schools could be re-opened at least in non-containment zones across the state.
"Colleges and universities across the state have been allowed to reopen from July 26 under the Covid-induced guidelines of the Union health ministry, as majority of the teaching faculty and students above 18 years received at least one dose of the vaccine," said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.
Over 2.8 crore people have been inoculated with Covishield or Covaxin till Thursday across the state since the vaccination drive was launched in the southern state on January 16.
"In addition to vaccination, many people across the state have developed anti-bodies to strengthen their immunity. Majority of parents and family members of school and college students have also been vaccinated to protect from the virus," said Sudhakar.
The state government plans to reopen schools in a phased manner to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour by students, faculty and non-teaching staff for containing the virus spread.
"We are subjecting 5 per cent of the total cases to genomic sequencing to look for new variants of Coronavirus such as Delta and Delta plus. We are sharing the scientific date with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Union Health Ministry," added Sudhakar.
With 1,653 new cases registered on Wednesday, the state's Covid tally rose to 28,89,994, including 24,695 active cases, while 28,28,893 recovered so far, with 2,572 patients discharged during the day, according to the state health bulletin.