Resume physical classes with caution

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The Jammu and Kashmir government has allowed physical schooling for the students of 10th to 12th classes with a rider that the attendance should be limited to 5o per cent only on a given day. Earlier, the government allowed opening of higher educational institutions with a condition that all staff members – teaching and non teaching – and the students to attend these institutions should be vaccinated. The developments are welcome as both the students and their parents have been suffering since the pandemic spread its wings here. Though the schools and other educational institutions introduced virtual class room concept but understandably this could not be a healthy alternative to physical classes. Besides there was a good chunk of students who had no access to smart-phones and internet. In this backdrop, the government’s decision regarding opening of schools is welcome but at the same time poses a big challenge that the society need to take head on. The challenge is to maintain the Covid-19 SOPs at all costs to ensure that the virus is not allowed to spread widely and again force the authorities to close down the schools and other educational institutions. The teachers and the administrators of the educational institutions have to take up the challenge head on and ensure that all prescribed SOPs are followed in their respective institutions.

While the medical experts continue to insist that coronavirus can be defeated, or at least contained, only if people take strict precautions in terms of following the Covid-related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), there are some alarming reports suggesting that some people still don’t take the risks involved seriously and roam around without taking the necessary precautions. The trend becomes more dangerous as with the decrease in Covid positive cases, the administration here has started relaxing the Covid restrictions. Police, on its part, has been trying to make people follow the SOPs by registering FIRs against violators and even fining them, however, still some people seem adamant to risk their lives and that of their dear ones by not adopting the appropriate behavior.

Medical experts describe the trend of violating SOPs as worrisome saying the masses need to adopt Covid-19 SOPs as a new normal because nothing will change immediately. They are of the opinion that despite the vaccination drive, the virus is not going to vanish overnight and therefore taking extreme precautions is the only way to ensure safety from this invisible enemy. It is every individual’s responsibility to ensure that he/she helps in breaking the chain of infection and that is possible only if everyone adheres to ongoing SOPs.

With the opening of educational institutions, the responsibility of the citizenry has doubled. They have to understand that their complacency in following Covid-19 SOPs may put the lives of their children, who are going to attend physical classes to risk. It is therefore imperative that people understand that following the SOPs is the only way to safety. People have to behave as responsible citizens and understand that one who doesn’t follow the guidelines is doing utmost disservice to his/her own self, family and the society at large. While the authorities have launched a full-fledged vaccination campaign and more and more people are getting vaccinated, the SOPs still remain the only measure to defeat the virus.  People should not become complacent as the medical experts are continuously suggesting that even after getting vaccinated, following of SOPs is a must. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently are the new norms and people should prepare themselves to follow these for a longer period.

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