Amid surging cases of Omicron variant, the Delhi government, on December 28, announced the closure of schools, colleges and other educational institutes with immediate effect.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) declared a "yellow alert" amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate.
Key things to know about closure of schools and educational institutes in Delhi:
> Under the "yellow alert", schools, colleges, training and coaching institutions as well as libraries are to remain shut.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
> The Directorate of Education (DoE) later clarified that in addition to online classes, examinations and related activities such as practicals, projects and assignments for classes 9 to 12 would be conducted according to schedule.
> School administration is also allowed to function for CBSE registration work, examinations and other related activities, including project and assignments.
> Schools and colleges in Delhi have faced frequent closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and spiralling pollution levels.
> Schools were allowed to reopen from December 18 for students above class 6, after being closed due to alarming pollution levels in Delhi. The government had earlier also announced that physical classes for students up to class five can begin from December 27.
> The DDMA's decision to shut schools has evoked mixed reactions from parents, school principals and education experts.
> Delhi Parents Association (DPA) president Aprajita Gautam said the constant shutting and reopening of schools has a "deteriorating" effect on the mental health of students. "We have all witnessed the total failure of planning and execution from the government this year. Schools constantly closing and reopening has had an undeniably deteriorating effect on students' mental health," Gautam said, as quoted in a PTI report.
> The yellow alert, which comes under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), was sounded after Delhi reported the biggest single-day spike in COVID-19 infections in over six months with 331 new cases, pushing the positivity rate to 0.67 percent.> The national capital has also reported the maximum number of Omicron cases in India at 238, according to the health ministry's latest update. India has so far detected 781 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 21 states and UTs.