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'Country's future at stake': Anand Mahindra, Rishad Premji highlight need to reopen schools

Both the industry leaders called for focused measures, including vaccination of school staff at the earliest, to enable the return of children to offline classrooms.

July 28, 2021 / 08:57 PM IST
Some state governments have permitted schools for higher classes to resume in restricted manner (Representative image)

Some state governments have permitted schools for higher classes to resume in restricted manner (Representative image)


Business tycoons Anand Mahindra and Rishad Premji on July 28 highlighted the need to reopen schools across the country, which have remained closed for students in the lower grades for more than a year due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the industry leaders called for focused measures, including vaccination of school staff at the earliest, to enable the return of children to offline classrooms.

"This is now critical. We need to focus on getting all schools reopened. All staff to get vaccinated on priority to facilitate this Reopening. Very simply, the country’s future is at stake," Anand Mahindra, the Chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Group, tweeted.

Also Read | COVID-19: Delhi govt to seek feedback from teachers, parents about reopening of schools

Along with his tweet, Anand Mahindra attached a statement issued by NGO A.T.E Chandra Foundation, which said that children are among those most adversely affected due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"Children have been HUGE victims of the pandemic with most schools being shut for ~16 months! Damage not just academic but also socio-emotional - worsened by the digital divide. Govts need to URGENTLY focus on re-opening schools/colleges by vaccinating ALL employees (sic)," A.T.E Chandra Foundation had tweeted on July 27.

Rishad Premji, while retweeting Anand Mahindra's tweet, said lessons must be learnt from countries which have reopened schools for children.

"We absolutely must open schools. The damage of them staying closed is now worse then schools opening. Lots of lessons to take from other countries that have done this successfully," said Premji, the chairman of Wipro Limited.

Notably, offline classes have resumed in the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, among few other nations. The countries which have opted to permit the functioning of schools have inoculated a major portion of their population with the vaccines against COVID-19.

In India, a number of state governments had resumed classes for students in the higher grade in late 2020 and earlier this year. However, the onset of second wave forced the closure of schools again. With the second round of pandemic subsiding, a number of state governments including Punjab and Gujarat, have resumed classes for students in the higher grades in a restricted manner.
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first published: Jul 28, 2021 08:57 pm
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