State Times NewsSRINAGAR: With schools in Kashmir valley preparing for students to return to classrooms next week, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said reopening schools at a time when COVID-19 cases are surging could worsen the crisis.“Reopening schools while COVID is still circulating widely could accelerate virus transmission in the community,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.“With cases rising thick and fast, opening schools could further deteriorate the situation, the effect of which could be worse than what has happened,” he said.DAK President said studies have shown that children are as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as adults.A report from the United States has revealed that about 97,000 children were infected within two weeks of school reopening.In Israel, a second wave of infection has been directly linked to opening of schools.He said while most children who get COVID develop mild illness, several hundreds have died of respiratory failure or an inflammatory syndrome.“A recent German study suggested that children may be as infectious as adults and can spread the virus as easily as adults,” Dr Nisar said.“Children can get infected at school and spread the virus to parents and grandparents at home who are more likely to develop severe disease. Children can also transmit the virus to teachers and other staff at school.”He said flu is just around the corner and most children are unvaccinated which puts them at risk of severe COVID-19 disease.Dr Nisar said children tend not to follow social distancing and are not particular about personal hygiene.“The existing infrastructure of most schools can be fertile grounds for virus transmission,” he added.“We understand the impact of prolonged closure of schools on children, but we are not in a favorable situation to open schools.Sooner or later, education can somehow be compensated, but what you can’t overcome is death from the virus.As per the criteria for reopening of schools there should be minimum 14 days of declining cases before even considering reopening,” said Dr Nisar.
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