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50 students of two south Kashmir schools test positive for COVID-19

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Srinagar: At least 50 students of two schools in Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, forcing the authorities to close the institutions for a week, officials said.

Thirty-six students of Noorani Public School in Khull area of Damhal Hanjipora in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district tested positive during a random sampling drive, DH Pora Block Medical Officer (BMO) Shugufta Salam was quoted as saying by PTI.

She said the report of a grandparent of a student who had come to the school to fetch his grandchild also came out positive.

All the contacts will be tested in the due course of time, the BMO said.

She said the Health Department will launch a door-to-door drive to trace the contacts of the students and conduct tests.

The official said the school has been closed for a week to contain the infection.

Meanwhile, 14 students also tested positive for COVID-19 at Government High School in Kathsoo area of the neighbouring Anantnag district, the officials said.

They said the school has been ordered to remain closed for a week.

In another case, two staff members at Kothibagh Higher Secondary School also tested positive for the virus, they said.

The institution has been closed till Saturday, they added.

Authorities in central Kashmir’s Budgam district also ordered closure of two government schools for five days each after a teacher and two students tested positive for COVID-19 at these institutions.

A staffer and a student at a school in Bandipora district have also tested COVID-19 positive prompting authorities to close the institution for three days.

As per Chief Education Officer (CEO) Budgam, the teacher tested positive for the virus at a higher secondary school in the district during a mass testing drive of students and teachers at the institution.

At another high school in Chadoora education zone of the district, the swab samples of two students tested during a mass sampling of 50 students at the institution on Friday, too have returned COVID-19 positive, SDM Chadoora, said.

Both the schools have been closed for five days starting Thursday following directions by the district administration in a bid to contain the virus chain.

In Bandipora, according to the officials, the swab samples of the vice-principal, who currently heads the school and a class 11 student taken a few days ago, returned positive for COVID-19 today, following which the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Bandipora ordered closure of the institution for three days and sanitisation of the premises for two days.

The school shall reopen only after getting clearance from CMO Bandipora, officials said.

Several schools have been closed in Kashmir Valley in recent weeks following contraction of COVID-19 by teachers and students amid a spike in infections in the Valley lately.

The surge in COVID-19 cases at educational institutions has particularly sent parents into a tizzy as most of the schools are allegedly not following the required SOPs including mask wearing and social distancing.

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