Teachers to be tested for Covid-19 as schools reopen for guidance visits from Sept 21Updated: Sep 19, 2020, 22:51 IST
With schools set to open on Monday for students of classes 9 to 12 who wish for guidance from their teachers, the district education and health departments plan to get government teachers tested for Covid-19.
In co-ordination with the health officials, the education department will submit a week-long schedule, dividing the teaching staff to be tested at various Urban Primary Health Centres (UPHCs), according to the order issued by the directorate of secondary education on Saturday.
Saturday’s order follows a September 16 direction from the directorate that mandated testing of all teachers at the schools.
This, some health officials say, is against the Union government guidelines. “But this is against Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) guidelines,” said a senior health official on condition of anonymity. “It allows only asymptomatic persons (teachers, employees and students) in the school premises and only the symptomatic staff or student has to be tested. There is no such clause for testing the entire teaching staff. People can always contract the coronavirus even if they are tested negative for the first time.”
The issue was raised in a meeting with the state officials on Saturday. It was thereafter decided that the education department will prepare a plan to test teachers in batches.
Gurugram chief medical officer Dr Virender Yadav said, “It is not possible to test all teachers in one-go. It has to be administered in a staggered manner. Teachers who will be joining the work will have to get themselves tested in the nearby Urban Primary Health Centres (UPHC). Only those who are symptomatic will be tested through rapid antigen test and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction ( RT-PCR).”
As per the MHA guidelines, part of the Unlock 4 plan, students who want to attend the school will also have to get a written consent from their parent or guardian. Only schools outside containment zones will be allowed to open. Also, teachers and students living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the school.
Suman Sharma, principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 4/7, said that government schools expect many students to voluntarily come to school. “We have been asked to visit the nearest health center to get these tests done,” she said.