Why New York’s move to restart classes despite Covid-19 surge contrasts with Indian approach

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Why New York's move to restart classes despite Covid-19 surge contrasts with Indian approach

At a time when Covid-19 cases in the United States are escalating sharply and deaths are at their highest since April, New York City. Which has the country’s largest schools system will reopen elementary and pre-kindergarten schools from the second week of the December. District 75-schools, which serve children with special education needs, are also set to reopen.

the announcement by Mayour Bill de Blasio has been met with skepticism by teachers and parents as Covid cases in the US surpassed the four million mark in the November of doubling the record set in October. New York itself have seen a daily average of more than 6,400 cases in the week ending November 29 up over 24-percent compared with a week ago according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Interestingly, Blasio said middle-and high-school students wont be back in schools anytime soon a trend also seen in several European countries where primary schools have remained open even as strict restrictions have been imposed on public life and social activities during the second wave. On the other hand, India has allowed in person teaching in schools for senior students only for Class 9th to 10th from October 15.

Why is New York City reopening primary schools? What precautions are being taken?

While announcing the reopening of elementary public schools from December 7. Just 11 days after shutting all classrooms -Mayor Bill de Blasio cited a research to say that “Young children appear to be less vulnerable to Covid-19″.”Its an new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be and this has come from real-life experience in the biggest school system in America,” De Blasio told reporters.

The decision will pave that way for about 190,000 students to return to schools a fraction of the NYC schools systems millions students population with two thirds of families having opted for full time virtual learning.

According to the guidelines, schools will reopen for in person learning five days a week and parents  will have to submit a consent from for weekly Covid-19 testing or a letter of medical exemption from a doctor. Earlier, month testing was implemented in schools. only about a fifth of students will be testing in a given week. Beside, students have been advised to limit interactions and wear a mask.

Blasio said the city would monitor schools coronavirus test results and many individual classroom or entire schools where multiple case are reported would be ordered to close down. Besides NYC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles also have planes to bring back young children first when schools  reopen.

What is the situation in India?

From October 15, as part of its Unlock 5 guidelines, the Home Ministry permitted senior students of Classes 9 to 12 to meet their teachers in schools voluntarily and has left opening of schools to the discretion of the state governments. The Education and Home Ministries have categorically said students will not be forced to attend classes in schools in schools attending classes online has been encouraged.

Wearing of masks has been made compulsory for students, teachers and staff. All students will to follow a strict hand hygiene routine, and will sit six feet apart in classrooms, the ministry guidelines state. Sharing of notebooks, food and toys among us students will be prohibited.

however, at least three states Uttarakhand, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh reported  Covid cases among teachers and students after schools reopened, prompting the government to defer or postpone reopening. A handful of states like Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan,Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir have decided not to reopen schools this year altogether 

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