Schools in the national capital will not reopen till the government is convinced about students’ safety, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said on Thursday.
Universities and schools across the country were closed on March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. A nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25.
"There is no plan to reopen schools (in Delhi) as of now. We are hopeful that a vaccine will be available soon. Schools will not be reopened till the time we are convinced that students will be safe,” Jain told reporters.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had on Tuesday said reopening of schools is unlikely till a vaccine is available.
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.
While several restrictions have been eased in different 'unlock' phases, educational institutions continue to remain closed.
According to 'Unlock 5' guidelines, states can take a call on reopening schools in phases.
Several states had begun the process of reopening schools.
However, some of them announced closing of schools again due to rise in coronavirus cases.
Earlier, school authorities were allowed to call students of class nine to 12 to school on voluntary basis from September 21. However, the Delhi government decided against it.
Delhi recorded 5,246 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day as the positivity rate declined to 8.49 percent on Wednesday, the lowest since October 28, while 99 more fatalities pushed the city’s death toll to 8,720.
It was after five days that the national capital recorded single-day death below 100.
The city had recorded its highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases on November 11.
Authorities reported 98 deaths on November 19, 118 on November 20, 111 on November 21, 121 each on November 22 and 23, and 109 on November 24.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.