63 per cent parents say schools should offer online classes if district Covid TPR crosses 5 per cent: Survey

At least 63 per cent parents say schools should make online classes available if district COVID-19 positivity rate crosses 5 per cent so that learning is not disrupted for impacted students, according to a new survey.

“Twenty-seven per cent of surveyed parents said once the Covid test positivity rate (TPR) in a district crosses 2 per cent, online classes should be started. While 63 per cent parents said if district TPR crosses 5 per cent, schools should make online classes also available so that learning is not disrupted for impacted students,” it said.

The survey was conducted by online platform Local Circles and it received 23,500 responses from citizens across 314 districts of India. While 62 per cent of the respondents were men, 38 per cent were women.

Forty-four per cent of the parents surveyed were from metros or tier 1 districts, 34 per cent from tier 2 districts and 22 per cent from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.

“Only 34 per cent of parents surveyed were in favour of running full schedule physical classes. Another 34 per cent suggested shorter duration of school with no indoor lunch and snack break. Twenty-nine per cent parents were very clear that physical classes should be shut if district TPR is above 5 per cent.

“However, there are many schools across the country where the online education facility does not exist. In those cases, moving to shorter duration schools might be the best option till a point when test positivity rate rises substantially,” the survey added.

Schools across the country were shut for over an year in view of the coronavirus outbreak and have now resumed completely offline classes from the new academic session. Experts have also been warning against the long term impact of COVID-19 induced prolonged school closures.

“On the basis of inputs from scientists, epidemiologists, virologists and paediatricians, data from the risk of re-infection and learnings from long COVID-19 in children around the world, a conservative approach is warranted in regard to continuing schools when cases start to increase and positivity rates rise. School administrations and district magistrates must keep a close watch on the test positivity rates and daily case-loads so corrective actions can be taken,” the survey report added.