The Technical Advisory Committee for COVID-19 in Karnataka has recommended to the state government not to reopen schools in December ahead of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's a key meeting on Monday to take a call on the matter.
"After extensive deliberations it was unanimously resolved not to reopen the schools in December," proceedings of the COVID-19 52nd Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting held on Sunday said.
The COVID-19 scenario shall be reviewed in the last week of December to consider reopening of schools at an appropriate time subsequently, it said, adding that this recommendation was for the consideration of the government in the larger public interest of the state.
The schools have remained closed since March when the national lockdown was first enforced to combat COVID-19.
The proceedings of the meeting, headed by Chairman Dr M K Sudarshan, said, the current scenario of COVID-19 in the state was showing a declining trend with around 1,700 cases and 20 deaths reported daily.
It was important to consolidate gains made after great efforts in the last eight months to contain the disease in the state, the panel said, pointing to the spike or resurgence of cases in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan and others.
Besides, the months of December and January due to winter are cold and conducive to occurrence and spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, it said, adding that the epidemiological perspective based on a state survey done in September is that there may be a spike in cases in the districts with low prevalence.
Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic
Chief Minister Yediyurappa and Primary and Secondary Education minister S Suresh Kumar are holding a meeting on Monday with the Education Department and other government officials to discuss reopening of schools.
The government has also taken suggestions from parents, health committee officials and educational experts, and other stakeholders.
Ahead of the meeting Yediyurappa said, "After taking note of the opinion expressed in the meeting, gathering suggestions from every one, we will take a decision. We will discuss and let you know the outcome."
"Schools had to open in June, six months have gone. There are various opinions like not to open schools, to open for selective classes. Also government school students in rural areas are not getting the benefit of online classes," Kumar said.
There were also social problems arising with reports about child labour and child marriages, he said.
The graduate, post-graduate, diploma and engineering colleges have reopened on November 17 in the state with preventive measures for COVID-19, but the attendance of students is said to be very poor so far.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.