Students across India are heading back to schools, which had been shut for over a year now. As they make the shift from online classes to classroom learning, reports of rise in Covid-19 infections are also trickling in. Even though states like Delhi have issued revised guidelines for reopening of schools in a phased manner including staggered lunch breaks and quarantine rooms, several health experts have questioned the need to reopen schools now, in view of warnings that the third wave of Covid-19 is more likely to affect children.

It is also pertinent to note that while the adult population of India has more or less got their first or both doses of vaccines, providing them a certain degree of immunity against the virus, the vaccination drive is yet to be extended to children. Thus, the big question remains, is it even safe to reopen schools?

Dr Navneet Wig, AIIMS, recently told a news agency that one has to weigh the pros and cons. Though the children are fed up at home, we should also consider the risks involved with reopening of schools. Once they go to school, they would have to be treated as unvaccinated individuals.

Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman of Medanta Hospital, also raised an alarm over the re-opening of schools and said that children in India are not being vaccinated. If they fall sick, we do not have good facilities to take care of them. Given India’s population size, we should be cautious especially when a vaccine is just around the corner. Further questioning the rush to reopen schools, he added that extreme caution should be used regarding in what circumstances we re-open schools.